The National International Native American Indian Alcoholics Anonymous Convention started in 1991 as a result of a vision experienced by Earl L. a Paiute Indian man. The purpose of the NAI-AA Convention is to carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to the Native Indian people by organizing an Annual Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous. With the realization that few natives would realistically make the trip to Las Vegas to hear the beautiful messages of hope and recovery, the 1993 NAI-AA Convention planning committee voted to make the Convention a traveling convention and to take the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to the people. The Convention has been traveling and reaching out to the Tribes of this country with a message of hope that life can be lived without the use of alcohol and that recovery from alcoholism is possible using the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The traveling NAI-AA Convention has been financially difficult to maintain, but with the help of volunteers, the Convention has survived. The average attendance on the road has been around 300-470 members per Convention. During the September 2001 Convention, two days after the 911 attack, the lowest attendance was recorded at 179 members.
During the 21st 2011 Annual NAI-AA Convention in Las Vegas, Ward Ewing, Chairperson of AA's General Service Board and a Class A non-alcoholic trustee, was present for the first time in this Convention's history. Ward was accompanied by his wife. Ward participated at the Sobriety Pow Wow and was honored during the Pow Wow with a beaded medallion from the Paiute Tribe.
In 2012, the 22nd Annual NAI-AA Convention convened for the first time on Sovereign Native American Land of the Yavapai Nation, Fort Mc Dowell, Arizona.
There have been many changes in Native communities since 1991. Currently, there are more AA meetings on Native American and First Nations communities than at any other time in AA history. Many areas have their own major AA activities, conventions, conferences, camp-outs, and roundups.
There have been several AA forums on Native Reservations, along with New York General Services Office Staff participation, a first in AA History.
There have also been updates to AA literature designed to reach out to the Native North American. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Fourth Edition has changed the Native stories to reflect a more modern, accurate snapshot of Native American culture. More Native groups are registered with the General Services Office in New York. At the 2000 Minneapolis, Minnesota World AA Convention, Natives were included in the World Family of Alcoholics Anonymous. For the first time in AA history, a native American Indian, Harold Y. (dec.), a Lakota from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, led the 2000 Parade of Flags. He carried an Eagle Staff representing all the Native Peoples of the World. In 2005 at the World Convention in Toronto, Canada, a 6-Nations Reserve First Nations Native by the name of Roger L. (dec.) led the Parade of Flags with an Eagle Staff and posted it along with the other Flags of the World. Another first in Alcoholics Anonymous history, Rod B., a Navajo (Dine') from Salt Lake City Utah, currently serves as the Pacific Regional Trustee, which means he is one of the 21 Trustees of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous. The General Service Board is entrusted to manage the two corporations of Alcoholics Anonymous, AAWS (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services), Inc. and the Grapevine, Inc. There are two Native panels at the AA World Convention, with 6 to 8 selected individuals carrying the messages of Alcoholics Anonymous to the world. There is also a Native hospitality suite at the World Convention. The National/International Native American and Canadian First Nations communities have been accepted by the world fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Gratitude goes out to all AA Members, Non-Native and Native who have extended a helping hand; YOU have made all these changes possible by carrying the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to other suffering alcoholics. Thank You.
PLEASE JOIN US IN THE FELLOWSHIP AT THE
29TH ANNUAL NAI-AA CONVENTION
(all website pictures that include the dust jacket cover of the Fourth Edition of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous were granted permission to display on this website by AAWS, Inc.)