The Native Nations Communications Task Force's mission is to provide guidance, expertise, and recommendations to specific requests from the Commission on a range of telecommunications issues that directly or indirectly affect Tribal governments and their people. This will enhance the Commission's ability to carry out its statutory responsibilities to ensure the availability of communications by wire and radio, and encourage broadband deployment, to all Americans. The Task Force consists of up to 26 Tribal and eight FCC senior staff members, each serving a three-year term. The Task Force meets twice a year, once in person in Washington, DC and once in Indian country. These meetings are supplemented by video/teleconferences throughout the year. At the first meeting of each iteration of the Task Force the Tribal members select a Tribal Co-Chair; the FCC Co-Chair is selected by the FCC Chair.

The current Tribal Co-Chair is Sam Cohen, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the current FCC Co-Chair is Bambi Kraus, Office of Native Affairs and Policy. In August of 2022, Chairwoman Rosenworcel extended the original term of the Task Force to October 24, 2023 to provide additional time to further the Task Force’s contributions to the FCC.


November 30, 2023: In a Public Notice, the FCC announced an extension of the deadline until December 29, 2023, for nominations and recommitment letters for membership on the Native Nations Communications Task Force to start in 2024.

October 16, 2023: In a Public Notice, the FCC announced the extension of the Commission’s Native Nations Communications Task Force’s term of the current Native Nations Communications Task Force until the end of 2023, and seeking applications for membership to serve on a renewed Task Force to start at the beginning of 2024.

June 1, 2022: The FCC posted a Handbook on Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands adopted by the Tribal members of the Task Force on May 16, 2022. The Handbook is intended to bring awareness of the various steps involved in broadband deployment, whether wireless or wireline, including developing networks, forming partnerships, establishing sound regulatory policies and practices, and creating sustainable business models. It also provides guidance related to assessing both current and future needs and designing systems to meet those needs, whether a Tribe seeks to provide communications services itself or through a third party.

February 2, 2022: In a Public Notice, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced the appointment of eight new Tribal members to the FCC's Native Nations Communications Task Force.

June 28, 2021: In a Public Notice, the FCC announced a 12-month extension of the original three-year term current Native Nations Communications Task Force. The term, which was set to expire on October 24, 2021, will now expire on October 24, 2022. This extension takes into account the expansion of the Task Force during its current term, and will allow the expanded Task Force additional time to complete its assigned tasks.

Dec. 31, 2020: The FCC posted a report approved on Dec. 30, 2020 by the Tribal members of its Native Nations Communications Task Force entitled "Recommendations for Improving Required Tribal Engagement Between Covered Providers and Tribal Governments" (download PDF). The report addresses how the Commission can improve engagement over the five elements required by its Universal Service Fund rules, and recommends several additional actions the Commission can take, including the provision of additional guidance, initiating changes through rulemaking and conducting educational outreach programs aimed at producing better and more effective engagement between providers and the Tribes they serve.

May 4, 2020: Tribal Task Force Members' Letter to Chairman Pai Recommending Three-Month Extension of 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window. (PDF)

December 4, 2019: The FCC posted a report from the Tribal members of its Native Nations Communications Task Force entitled "Improving and Increasing Broadband Deployment on Tribal Lands" (download: Word | PDF). The report addresses how to close the persistent digital divide between Indian country and the rest of America. It highlights Tribal success stories and provides potential solutions for policymakers that could benefit residents of Indian Country.

October 24, 2018: Chairman Ajit Pai announced the appointment of Tribal members and FCC members to the FCC's renewed Native Nations Communications Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of elected and appointed leaders, or their designees, from a broad cross section of Native Nations, as well as senior staff and decision-makers from across the Commission. Chairman Pai also named Matthew Duchesne, Chief of the Commission's Office of Native Affairs and Policy, as Co-Chair. The Task Force helps the Commission fulfill its commitment to increase access to broadband and other communications infrastructure deployment and services on Tribal lands.

February 8, 2018: The Commission issued a Public Notice announcing the renewal and renaming of the Task Force and seeking nominations for membership from Tribal Nations. Originally created in 2011 as the Native Nations Broadband Task Force, the Task Force was renamed to reflect its involvement in issues including, but also reaching beyond, broadband deployment. Members serve for three years.

Members of the Native Nations Communications Task Force

The following individuals represent their respective Tribal Nation:

Sam Cohen Government Affairs and Legal Officer Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and Task Force Tribal Co-Chair
Allyson Mitchell General Manager of Mohawk Networks St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Task Force Tribal Vice Chair
The Honorable Cheryl Andrews-Maltais Chairwoman Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)
The Honorable James Kinter Tribal Secretary Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation
The Honorable Joey Whitman District One Council Representative Gila River Indian Community
The Honorable Dr. Stacey Oberly Councilor Southern Ute Indian Tribe
Bill Bryant President/GM Saddleback Communications, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Damon Day Deputy Chief Information Officer Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservations
Kristan Johnson Telephone Operations Manager O'odham Utility Authority, Tohono O’odham Nation
Donald Long Knife Information Technology Specialist Fort Belknap Indian Community
Marissa Merculieff Director Office of Justice and Governance Administration, Aleut Community of St. Paul (ASCPI)
Will Micklin CEO Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians
Travis Noland Government Relations Manager Cherokee Nation
Robert Pollard IT Director Blue Lake Rancheria
Kevin Shendo Education Director Pueblo of Jemez
Teresa Taylor Project Manager Office of Economic Policy, Lummi Indian Business Council, Lummi Nation
Jon Walton Chief Information Officer Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
Jimmy Williams CIO/Executive Officer IT Choctaw Nation
Karen Woodard Morongo Realty Administrator Morongo Band of Mission Indians

The Federal Communications Commission members are:

  • Bambi Kraus, Chief, Office of Native Affairs and Policy and Task Force FCC Co-Chair
  • Derik Goatson, Legal Advisor, Office of Native Affairs and Policy
  • Sue McNeil, Associate Bureau Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau
  • Susan Mort, Associate Bureau Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
  • Lisa Scanlan, Deputy Division Chief, Audio Division, Media Bureau
  • David Furth, Deputy Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

Public Notices

Exemption from the Federal Advisory Committee Act

Pursuant to the "intergovernmental communication" exemption of UMRA,[1] the Task Force is not subject to, and is not required to follow, the procedures set forth in the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C. App 2 (1988).[2]

Accessible Formats

To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice) or (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

Further Information

For further information, please contact: Janet Sievert, Legal Advisor, Office of Native Affairs and Policy, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, (202) 418-1362,


[1] See 2 U.S.C. § 1534 (b).

[2] See 47 C.F.R. § 0.701 (a)

Thursday, December 7, 2023