Executive Director Update


  • Wayne L. Ducheneaux, II
    Wayne L. Ducheneaux, II Outgoing Executive Director Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Wayne Ducheneaux II, our executive director, has announced his intention to step down from his role at NGC. Here’s a letter from Wayne explaining what’s next for him and Native Governance Center:

Hau mitakuyepi, cante waste nape cayuzapi. Hello my relatives, I greet you all with a good heart and a handshake.

After much consideration, I have decided to step away from my role as executive director at Native Governance Center. This wasn’t an easy choice for me–I value the opportunity to work alongside an amazing team while carrying out a mission that’s impactful and close to my heart. But, now is the right time for me to refocus and re-energize. I’m happy to say that this news is coming from a good place; I am immensely grateful for this upcoming opportunity to reflect.

From our humble beginnings with a staff of three, NGC has transformed into a unique organization powered by a team of eleven bright, mission-driven individuals. Native Governance Center designs and delivers responsive, values-aligned programming, and it has been an honor to watch our work evolve and expand over the years. Our growth has been possible thanks to the talent and dedication of our team. The organization is also stronger than ever in terms of our financials, programming, and staff. I know I’m leaving NGC in great hands. 

I’m excited to see the organization’s continued momentum. Just last week, we finished recruiting applicants for our next cohort of Native Nation Rebuilders. Our applicant pool is the largest and most diverse we’ve seen in years. We’re about to launch a new Tribal Civics cohort and begin action planning workshops with nations participating in our Indigenous Leaders in Governance program. NGC recently won the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ Mission Award for Anti-Racism Initiative. And, our new episode of Wings with Wayne featuring Dallas Goldtooth is approaching 60,000 views. 

In terms of what’s next, the organization will soon begin a search for my successor. Our board chair, Caleb Dogeagle, is helping lead the search process. During the transition, Danielle Gangelhoff, our director of finance and administration, will serve as interim executive director. I look forward to supporting NGC in identifying a successor who will build on our progress, moving this vital work onward for the next seven generations.

Serving Indian Country in this role has been one of the highest honors of my life. While I’m stepping down from my formal position, I plan to remain one of NGC’s biggest supporters. As a final request, I urge you to join me in supporting NGC next month during our Give to the Max Day (GTMD) campaign. Help us make this our best GTMD yet as we begin this next chapter.

Wopila tanka (with great thanks), mitakuye oyasin (we are all related),

Wayne L. Ducheneaux, II, Outgoing Executive Director

We are all grateful for Wayne’s time at Native Governance Center. Wayne brought a broad foundation of Indigenous governance knowledge and deep respect for Indigenous leadership to his work. Better yet, it’s not everyday you find an executive director who’s willing to eat repeated rounds of hot wings or jump into a freezing cold stock tank for the cause. Wayne, we’ll miss your humor, your passion, and your values-centered approach to relationship building. We wish you all the best wherever your adventure leads next!