Native leader resigns from top post



Alaskan Jacqueline Pata will resign from being the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, an organization she has been with for 18 years and where she has served as the longest-tenured executive director. She’ll continue working until a successor is found, the organization said.

Last year, a sexual harassment scandal rocked the organization when John Dossett, the most senior attorney with the advocacy group, was accused of sexual harassment. The matter came to a head in Native America media outlet, and Dossett was eventually booted from his job in October.

Pata was criticized for the handling of the incident, and Nicole Hallingstad, a Tlingit from Juneau who serves on the Sealaska Corporation Board of Directors, resigned as the Director of Operations for NCAI over the organization’s apparent feet of clay when dealing with Dossett.

It was a moment when the #MeToo movement was rocking many major organizations.

Pata is a well-known Native American leader who has served as vice president for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights,  board member for the George Gustave Heye Center of the National Museum of the American Indian. She also serves as on the board for Sealaska Corporation. She is on the Native American Advisory Council for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Prior to joining NCAI in June 2001, Pata served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Programs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Previously, Pata served as the executive director of the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority headquartered in Juneau, Alaska and she is a former Vice-Chair of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.
She served as chairperson of the National American Indian Housing Council and was appointed to the National Commission on American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Housing. She also has served on the National Community Development Financial Institution Fund Advisory Board, an advisory board to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

“After having time for thought and reflection, I have decided to resign from my role as NCAI Executive Director,” Pata wrote in a statement that was shared with news reporters. “Serving NCAI and tribal nations has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I am proud of that service and know that I leave NCAI with a strong foundation for continued growth under new leadership.”

The relationship between Pata and Hallingstad was written about by Dossett, who said he was simply caught in the middle, “a victim of a long-running political ‘rivalry’ between two Native women — Hallingstad and Pata. Both are citizens of the Tlingit and Haida Tribes who are active in Sealaska, one of the Native regional corporations in Alaska. They both serve on the corporation’s board,” he wrote.

This is fantastic news,” Hallingstad told “I believe it is the appropriate outcome after the lengthy suspension and investigation of NCAI’s executive director Jackie Pata.”

Hallingstad had gone on to open her own consulting firm and is working with the Association of Village Council Presidents, headquartered in Bethel.  


  1. There must be some position available for Byron Mallott. I went to and the classifieds showed the need for a mediator. If there are any teenage girl beefs going on, Mallott is your go-to guy.

  2. Maybe Byron Mallott can try for that Executive Director position. He can supervise the teenage interns at the NCIA.

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