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National Congress of American Indians' conference comes to Palm Springs

Debra Gruszecki, Desert Sun, October 7, 2009

The National Congress of American Indians, the oldest and largest organization representing tribal governments, will formally launch its 2010 Census Campaign, "Indian Country Counts,'' on Monday.

The campaign will be launched during the National Congress of American Indians' annual convention at Palm Springs Convention Center.

The conference is expected to draw 1,500 to 3,000 tribal, business and political leaders, as well as officials affiliated with tribal gaming and related industries, social or government organizations.

It is taking place in a city that is built on the checkerboard-fashioned reservation of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, a tribe of national prominence with a diversified economy.

Among its business ventures are the Spa Resort Casino of Palml Springs and the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa and The Showroom of Rancho Mirage.

Key participants or speakers in the event include the Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Larry Echohawk; Joe Garcia, president of the National Congress of American Indians; Robert Groves, director of the U.S. Census Bureau; James Steele, Jr., chairman of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council; and many national Native American organizations.

The Census Bureau is expected to reaffirm its commitment to working with American Indians and Alaska Natives during the event.