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November 2013 Policy Update

Procession of the Tribal Chiefs at the National Congress of American Indians

November 6, 2013

Despite the government shutdown, October was a very busy month! The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) held their 70th annual convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the National Center for American Indian Economic Development (NCAIED) held their regional meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.  Additionally, the minute the federal government opened back up for business, agencies scrambled to start the new fiscal year and to hold consultation meetings with tribes.  Finally, preparation began for the White House Tribal Nations Summit  held in November.

NCAI 70
th Annual Convention-Tulsa, October 13-18, 2013 This was a very eventful conference, a few of the highlights included NCAI elected a new president, Dustin Brown was honored, telecom and technology task force meetings, and even Google training.   This was the last NCAI convention under outgoing President Jefferson Keel(Chickasaw Nation Lt. Governor).  The election events were extremely competitive; four candidates for president of NCAI participated.  There was a run off between two of the candidates—Southwest Area Vice President, Ohkay Owingeh Governor, and All Pueblo Indian Council Chairman Joe Garcia and Swinomish Tribal Chairman Brian Cladoosby.  In the end, Brian Cladoosby won by a very slim margin. It was a real nail-biter!

On a somber note, NCAI honored Dustin Brown, the biological father of Baby Veronica.  We stood as a parade of Native veterans ushered in Dustin Brown and his wife, leading them to the podium.   There, spiritual leaders and NCAI President Keel presented him with a prayer quilt and an eagle feather to remind him of his daughter.  There may not have been a dry eye in the house.

NCAI sessions and committee meetings included a number of communications and telecommunications related events.  We attended two telecom subcommittee meetings, the technology task force meeting, and a Google Training.   The Google session was intended for Native American owned businesses and focused on “Growing Your Bottom Line, Online.”  We hope this is the start of a great partnership between NCAI and Google; this would be good for Indian Country.

NCAIED-RES Arizona-October 22-24, 2013
NCAIED is well known for their Reservation Economic Summit held annually in Las Vegas every March. However, their regional RES offerings are relatively new.  The Phoenix RES held last month, was their most successful regional offering yet. Attended by over 400 people, the event was jam packed with trainings, networking opportunities, and events.

Some of the highlights included a session on Telecommunications and Telecom for Tribes, Leadership training, business plan development, business accounting training, and social media training.  We were most impressed by the caliber of the trainings and the opportunities to network and procurement opportunities.  RES is a definite must!  We are looking forward to their annual RES event in March and the next regional RES in Washington DC in June. Homahota Consulting’s Traci Morris was the presenter of the two Social Media 101 sessions at the Arizona RES.

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