Constitution and By-Laws of NIEA

The Constitution and By-laws are the foundation of NIEA. The policies and guidelines outlined in this document guide NIEA’s mission and work. NIEA membership amended the four By-Laws within the NIEA Constitution in 2016. To view the most recent version of the NIEA Constitution, please click here.

The Proposed Changes to NIEA’s Constitution and By-laws

To view the proposed changes to the Constitution and By-Laws in full, please click here.

The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) is embarking on the next step of growth necessary to expand our services, build a sustainable, member-driven organization, and increase resources to better serve Native students. To achieve these goals, NIEA’s Board of Directors and membership have worked together over the last two years to transform the Constitution and By-laws so that it is aligned to the organization’s governing policies and with its new strategic directions.

Through this process, the NIEA Constitution and By-Laws will:

  • Ensure that NIEA is a member-driven organization;
  • Confirm that the NIEA Board of Directors reflects the constituents it seeks to serve; and
  • Align with NIEA’s new Strategic Plan.

Questions Under Consideration

As a members-based organization, NIEA members have a critical voice in shaping the work, goals, and direction of the organization. This year, members have an opportunity to ensure that NIEA’s purpose continues to reflect the membership’s best interests by voting on revisions to the Constitution and By-Laws. During the 2018 Convention and Tradeshow, NIEA requests that members consider the following two questions:

  1. Adoption of the proposed key revisions to the NIEA Constitution and By-Laws
  2. Modifying the representation of the NIEA Board of Directors

Key Revisions to Constitution and By-Laws

The proposed amendments to the NIEA Constitution and By-Laws include a number of technical changes to align with the organization’s governing documents and ensure consistency in the way the organization conducts its day-to-day business. Membership is asked to consider three key revisions at this time. The entire set of proposed changes has been provided to all attendees of the NIEA 2018 Convention and Tradeshow. You can also find the complete document on the NIEA website at this link.

1. Board members should be actively involved in NIEA prior to serving on the Board. The NIEA Board of Directors received 90 comments (71 percent agreement), which requested that the selection of Board members reflect active involvement in the organization, as well as with other Native organizations and communities. In response, proposed key amendments direct that:

Applicants for NIEA’s Board of Directors (BOD, Directors) shall:

1. Be a verified (by the Organization) general voting member at the time of application submission; […]
3. Present a record of service and good standing (see Board Policies and Procedures) to NIEA; (NIEA Constitution, Article IV(A), p.5)

2. Increase membership involvement and control of NIEA. The NIEA Board of Directors received 66 comments (83 percent agreement) requesting that the Board of Directors provide additional opportunities for members to engage with NIEA to share the expertise and knowledge found within the NIEA membership. In response, proposed provisions direct that:

Committee Co-Chairs—The President will appoint a committee co-chair from within the Board of Directors and allow the committee to select the other co-chair from among its members. In special circumstances, the President will appoint the committee co-chair(s) from the general voting membership. (NIEA Constitution, Article VI(C), p.16)

3. Distinction of Roles and Responsibilities of Board of Directors. In accordance with new strategic direction of NIEA, the Board of Directors has worked for two years to differentiate Board member roles and responsibilities from those of the Executive Director. In response, this amendment directs that:

Powers: As a member driven organization, the vision, mission, strategic direction and policy setting functions of the organization shall be articulated by its Board of Directors. The Board shall establish policies and authorize strategies of the Organization toward the accomplishment of strategic objectives and outcomes in alignment with its mission and vision. The general operations of the organization shall be led and managed (with authorization by the Board of Directors) by the Executive Director. The acts of the Board of Directors shall be effective for all purposes as the act or authorization of the organization, provided however, that the Board of Directors shall have no authority to repeal, rescind, veto, or repudiate any action taken at any general meeting of the organization, or at any special meeting held thereafter. A majority of the vote by the Board membership in attendance shall be necessary for the adoption of any motion. (NIEA Constitution Article IV(D), p. 6)

Modification of NIEA Board Representation

The NIEA Board of Directors received 164 comments (of which 84 percent agreed) requesting that the selection of Board members be amended to accurately reflect the regions of the United States and ensure that the NIEA Board of Directors is representative of the three constituent groups that NIEA was created to serve: American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian. Current language in the CBL does not address this issue.

In response, the Board of Directors has proposed the an amendment to the Constitution and By-Laws, which would implement the following regional representation among members of the Board:

a.    Two (2) student At-Large positions;
b.    Six (6) regional positions—Alaska, Hawaiʻi, West, Great Plains, Southeast, Northeast;
c.    Four (4) At-Large positions. (NIEA Constitution, Article IV(A), p.5)

To view a print version of these condensed changes, please click here.