- Work with FCNL
Congressional Advocate on Native American Policy
A two-year+ professional fellowship with the Friends Committee on National Legislation
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is a Quaker lobby in the public interest that seeks to influence national policy for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. We are seeking candidates for a 27-month fellowship in Washington D.C. – the Congressional Advocate on Native American Policy. American Indian and Alaska Native tribal members are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted until June 1, 2017.
For decades, FCNL’s Native American Advocacy Program has been an enduring ally to national Native American organizations and Indian communities engaged in policy advocacy. We collaborate with national advocacy offices of faith organizations to lobby Congress and the administration for useful investments in Indian country and respect for tribal sovereignty. We also provide information to Congress and the public on the rights and continuing struggles of native peoples.
This work takes us into all of the issue areas encountered by any government: land, environment, energy, and natural resources; economic development; care for the safety and well-being of tribal citizens; protection of religion and cultural rights; and investment in the future through health and education. Since 1976, FCNL’s program has advocated consistently for restorations and improvements in many areas covered by the promises made in hundreds of treaties. The treaties may be broken, but the promises were permanent. Examples of this work include:
The Indian Child Welfare Act
Tribal Law and Order Act and including Native women in the Violence Against Women Act
Indian Health Care Improvement Act
Native American Graves Protection Act
Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act
Language preservation programs
Funding for tribally operated and BIE schools
Protection of sacred sites
The Congressional Advocate on Native American Policy manages the Native American Advocacy program, keeping track of legislation and funding proposals that affect Native Americans, communicating with Congress about selected bills and issues, and lobbying on legislation that is important to Indian country. This position is a 27-month fellowship, with the final three months of the term overlapping with the Advocate’s successor. (See Term of Appointment below.)
The purpose of this position, in addition to direct advocacy with the federal government, is to form and strengthen connections between tribes and tribal organizations and non-Indian allies, particularly among a wide range of faith groups. The fellowship also offers a significant opportunity for training, experience and networking for committed individuals engaged in social justice work in their own communities. The skills gained and strengthened in this position will contribute positively to the communities and the work that the advocates will return to after their fellowship.
Promoting FCNL’s vision to “honor the promises,” and to “seek a society with equity and justice for all”, the Congressional Advocate lobbies for achievable legislative change, in accordance with FCNL legislative policies outlined in the document, The World We Seek.
The Congressional Advocate
keeps current on relevant issues emerging in Indian country, in the administration and in Congress;
analyzes bills, assesses FCNL’s position, and creates strategies to promote, improve or defeat legislation;
lobbies congressional staff and members on strategically selected priorities;
writes educational materials for Capitol Hill staff and for our constituents;
engages our constituents around the country in legislative action;
coordinates an interfaith group of national advocates on Native American affairs, and collaborates with other colleague organizations;
presents information in meetings and conferences and publishes a monthly Legislative update on the web;
reports as needed to FCNL staff, constituents and committees, and
integrates the work of the Native American Advocacy program with other aspects of FCNL’s advocacy.
The Congressional Advocate on Native American Policy is the lead staff position for the Native American program and collaborates with communications and strategic advocacy (outreach and organizing) staff. The Advocate may be assisted from time to time by a volunteer or summer intern, but this program is not supported by a full-time program assistant (“Young Fellow”) at this time. The Advocate reports to the Legislative Director for Domestic Policy and serves the FCNL General Committee under the leadership of the Executive Secretary.
The successful candidate will have the following knowledge, experience, and skills:
Tribal experience, preferably in tribal programs, education, or governance,
An undergraduate or graduate degree or some college plus equivalent experience,
At least a year of professional work outside of the school environment,
Excellent research and writing skills, with a commitment to accuracy,
Self reliance, resourcefulness, and the ability to take initiative,
A systematic and well-organized approach to challenges and projects, with attention to details and deadlines, and
An ability to handle a wide range of tasks as needed.
In addition, we expect the ideal candidate to have the following characteristics:
An abiding passion for Indian issues and for public policy change, as one path toward the “world we seek,”
An appreciation of the vision that FCNL promotes in Congress and with administrative agencies, and openness to Friends’ practices and committee processes,
A consultative and collaborative manner, with skills in cooperative work with colleagues inside and outside of FCNL, and
An ability to work with a staff team responsible for a wide range of objectives, including lobbyists who focus on other issues, communications experts, grassroots organizers and trainers, fundraisers and smart people in the business office.
Since 1943, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has endeavored to bring strong values to bear on national policy. Through visits with congressional offices, research and analysis, letters, educational activities, grassroots lobbying, and publications FCNL works for social and economic justice, peace, good stewardship, and good government. FCNL is a non-partisan organization that speaks from a basis of spiritual and ethical purpose rather than political expediency.
Salary and Benefits
A professional-level salary in the mid-$50,000 range, plus health insurance; disability and life insurance; paid holidays, vacation, personal days and sick leave; parental leave; transportation subsidy; and employer contributions to a retirement plan.
Term of Appointment
The Congressional Advocate on Native American Policy begins a 27-month term in the fall of each odd-numbered year (in the middle of a Congressional session), and serves through December of the next odd-numbered year. During the last three months of the term, a new Congressional Advocate will begin his or her term, and the now-experienced Advocate will train and orient the new staff member. This appointment will begin in early October, 2017.
The schedule of the Congressional Advocate cannot be guaranteed to be routine; the work week is variable within a 37.5 hour average per week. Travel and weekend meetings are sometimes necessary to the work. This is full time position, exempt from federal labor laws that protect workers in non-managerial positions. The Advocate is responsible for finding the appropriate balance between work objectives and other aspects of life.