The mission of the New Jersey Commission on American Indian Affairs is:
  • To ensure that the American Indian Tribal members and communities within the State of New Jersey have full opportunities for their own cultural, educational, social, economic, physical, mental health, and welfare development, as well as continue to contribute to and participate in the on-going life and development of the State's extended family.
  • To develop close communication among the state's American Indian communities, with the State and federal governments, educational institutions, organizations, as well as the people of the State in general.
  • To promote understanding and knowledge about the history and culture of the American Indian communities of the State, in order to improve the quality of life for all people in the State of New Jersey.
Commission Members
Tahesha Way
Secretary of State - ex officio

Lewis J. Pierce, Jr.
Commission Chair
Representing the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribe

Urie Ridgeway
Representing the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribe

JoAnne Hawkins
Representing the Powhatan Renape Tribe

Barbara D. Jefferson
Representing the Powhatan Renape Tribe

Steven Burton
Representing the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation

Eileen DeFreece
Representing the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation

Representing the Inter-Tribal People

Representing the Inter-Tribal People

Member Biographies


Contact the NJ Commission on
American Indian Affairs
NJ Commission on American Indian Affairs
P.O. Box 300
Trenton, NJ 08625

Tel: (609) 633-9627
Fax: (609) 777-2939

Email: Feedback@sos.nj.gov
Translator Disclaimer
Native America - Four Part Series

Tuesday October 23rd - November 13th, 9 pm PBS Show explores the splendor & ingenuity of the world created by America’s First Peoples 15,000 years ago, combining modern science with Native American traditions and oral history to spotlight these ancient cultures and communities that still thrive today. Each episode explores Great Nations, reveals cities, sacred stories & history long hidden in plain sight.


Support preserves diverse cultural traditions statewide

Grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to support Folk Arts Apprenticeships are now available. Program guidelines and application information for Fiscal Year 2019 grants are posted on the State Arts Council's website. Grants are for the period of 7/1/18-6/30/19.

Application Deadline: The Application Deadline has passed.

Additional Workshop Information

Meeting of the NJ Commission on American Indian Affairs
Governor's Conference on Volunteerism and Service

Meeting of the NJ Commission on American Indian Affairs, May 18, 2017 at the New Jersey State Museum. Pictured from upper left: Commission Chair Lewis Greysquirrel Pierce, Rowena Madden, Steven Burton, Eileen DeFreece, Claire Garland Renee Copola, Greg Lattani, Justin Higgs, Joanne Hawkins, Urie Ridgeway.

Wisdom from the Past, Visions for the Future

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
Iroquois statement

About the Commission

The New Jersey Commission on Native American Affairs was created by P.L.1134, c. 295, and signed into law on December 22, 1995, by Governor Christine Todd Whitman. It was placed within the New Jersey Department of State. Later legislation changed the name to the New Jersey Commission on American Indian Affairs. Its first meeting was held on April 18, 1997 and it continues to meet regularly in Trenton, usually on the third Wednesday of the month. The Commission is covered by the Open Public Meetings Act.

The Commission serves as a liaison among the tribes and the State and Federal governments. It is empowered to develop programs and projects to further understanding of New Jersey's American Indian history and culture.

There are nine members of the Commission: the Secretary of State, serving ex officio, and eight public members. The public members, who are recommended by their tribes and organizations and appointed by the Governor, consist of two members from each of the following: Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians, Powhatan Renape Indians, Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation, and Inter-Tribal People. Inter-Tribal People refers to American Indian people who reside in New Jersey, but are members of federally and/or State-recognized tribes in other states.

Government Resources

The Office Minority and Multicultural Health located in the Department of Health and Senior Services is committed to helping people in New Jersey's diverse communities live longer, healthier lives.

For more information, contact Linda J. Holmes at (609) 292-6962 or visit their website

Office of Native American Affairs in the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Office of Native American Affairs ensures that American Indians, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians seeking to create, develop and expand small businesses have full access to the necessary business development and expansion tools available through the Agency's entrepreneurial development, lending and procurement programs. We encourage you to locate us at: http://www.sba.gov/localresources/index.html or you may contact us at (202) 205-7364.

US Department of the Interior - Indian Affairs


AIANTA Scholarships Applications Open

Apply for AIANTA's Tourism and Hospitality Scholarship Program. Established to provide American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students with financial assistance to earn a degree or certificate in the hospitality, tourism, recreation, culinary arts or related fields.

AIANTA will award three (3) individuals who have met all scholarship application criteria. AIANTA would like to encourage Indigenous students to build their careers in the the tourism industry while sustaining and strengthening their cultural legacy.

Deadline for applying: The application deadline for AmeriCorps Competitive Grants has passed. Please check back for information about future grants.

Frances C. Allen Fellowships

This fellowship is for women of Native American heritage, to encourage them in their studies of the humanities and social sciences.

Native American Political Leadership Program

Reminder that the NAPLP Scholarship is offered during the Spring semester only
SIW Admissions
George Washington University, 1922 F Street, NW, Room 404-B
Washintgon, DC 20052
Phone: (202)994-8908

American Indians Committee of the DAR

American Indian Scholarship
This scholarship is intended to help Native American college/university and technical school students of any age, any tribe, in any state at the undergraduate or graduate level.
Deadlines: For Fall term, April 1; For Spring term, October 1.
This is a one-time $500 award.