ICTMN Staff
11/16/16

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The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development is actively reaching out to other Native organizations to bolster their outreach to Indian country.

“We are making a concerted effort to reach out to national organizations to start working with them, so that together, we can bring a stronger voice and a stronger force to be able to help business and economic development in Indian country,” Patricia (Pat) Parker, vice chairwoman of the National Center board, told ICTMN.

Most recently, the National Center and the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) collaborated to promote tribal tourism and the opportunity for tribes to share their own unique stories.

“We see a great synergy between the National Center and AIANTA, because we’re both working to provide business and economic development assistance to tribes and tribal communities. What is really exciting with AIANTA is their focus is really on local business and local jobs,” Parker told ICTMN.

Today AIANTA Executive Director Camille Ferguson (Tlingit) will speak at a Reservation Economic Summit (RES) New Mexico tourism panel. The regional conference, an expansion of the annual National RES Las Vegas, is hosted by the National Center. The summit is currently taking place, November 14-17, at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, on the Pueblo of Pojoaque, near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

At today’s tourism panel, Wednesday, November 16, 3:30-5 p.m., Ferguson will shed light on how the passage of the NATIVE (Native American Tourism and Improving Visitors Experience) Act in late September paves new roads for tribal tourism.

While the National Center has already inked MOUs with numerous Indian organizations across the country, Parker explained that the nonprofit really wants to strengthen those relationships and take action.

“Besides AIANTA, we’re reaching out to the National Indian Gaming Association (we have Ernie [Stevens, Jr., NIGA president] on our board), the Native American Contractors Association, the Native American Financial Officers Association, the National Congress for American Indians…. We really want to start working together and seeing how we can improve what we can provide Indian country together,” she emphasized.

Last year, the National Center formalized its partnership with NIGA by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance each organization’s broader goals: fostering economic development opportunities, as well as workforce development initiatives and training programs for Tribes, Tribal enterprises and American Indian entrepreneurs. Parker anticipates more joint efforts in the National Center’s future.

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