Connecting with Native American and Alaskan Native Communities
This is the second in a series of articles about the work of CIA’s Community Outreach and Liaison Staff in raising awareness of the CIA’s national security mission and expanding sources of mission-critical talent.
The CIA has recently stepped up outreach to Native Americans and Alaskan Natives to acquaint these communities with the CIA’s mission and career opportunities.
“The intent of the outreach is to inform and educate, to debunk the myth that we are part of the law enforcement community, and to deliver the message that Native Americans and Alaskan Natives are serving at the CIA,” said Michael, the program manager assigned to Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiian communities in the Center for Mission Diversity and Inclusion (CMDI), the Agency organization that develops and manages programs designed to enhance diversity and inclusion at the CIA. “If we have a positive impact on the youth, and the community sees that, they think better of the CIA, and they might consider the CIA as a place of employment,” Michael said.
“Census data indicate two-thirds of all American Indians are living in urban areas, and 80 percent of American Indians do not live on a reservation,” Michael said. He explained that he is reaching out to communities in New York, Washington, Illinois, Minnesota, Alaska and Colorado. “CMDI is working with Indian community centers to connect with that large percentage of urban American Indians.”
CMDI spearheads activities to foster those relationships, including attendance at heritage events, meeting with tribal elders and involvement with youth programs. In one of the most successful initiatives, CIA Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T) officers volunteer to participate in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) events for high school and college students from Alaska and Colorado. CIA officers help build top-end computers with the students to create excitement around STEM-related careers and “to have a positive impact and to be role models,” Michael explained.
When Native Americans join the Agency, they will find a group of peers in the Agency’s Native American Council (NAC) Employee Resource Group. New employee Diana has found the NAC a valuable resource during her first year at the Agency. “Participating in NAC has really helped me get a bigger picture of the Agency. The other members have helped me to see into occupations beyond the area I’m working in,” she said. “Plus, it helps me feel connected to native peoples even though I’m living far away from my tribe in Oklahoma.”
To find out more about CIA’s outreach to Native American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian communities, send us a note on our comment form.
To learn more about the history of Native Americans at the CIA, check out the article Navajo Code Talkers and the Unbreakable Code.