Over the month of June, I have been able to spend time on my family home in Cherokee, North
Carolina – home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. When I think of my home, I am
reminded of the Thomas Wolfe quote from Look Homeward, Angel: “The mountains were his
masters. They rimmed in life. They were the cup of reality, beyond growth, beyond struggle and
death. They were his absolute unity in the midst of eternal change.”

I love the mountains of Western North Carolina, and particularly the Cherokee Indian
Reservation, officially known as the Qualla Boundary. It was great to see my friends and learn
about all the things that I’ve missed. It was terrific to see businesses flourish, and economic
development projects that were just under discussion when I lived there now become full-blown
economic drivers. Going home is an on-the-ground reminder of the work we do every day to
improve the livelihoods of our communities, from the Bering Strait to the Qualla Boundary.
My June and July travels took me beyond North Carolina, too. I attended and represented the
National Center at US Department of Commerce’s Select USA Investment Summit, just outside
of Washington, DC. There were over 3,000 attendees, and over $600 million in new Foreign
Direct Investment (FDI) was announced at the conference. As the only native organization at
the conference, we were able to open the door to and facility high-level discussions about the
many FDI opportunities in Indian Country. The Citizen Potawatomi Nation was the only tribe
represented and its economic development director, Dr. James Collard, spoke on a breakout
panel. International commerce and trade offers tremendous untapped potential for Indian
Country. We look forward to continuing our work with the Department of Commerce to ensure
Indian Country can access these opportunities.

Last week, we hosted the latest Young Entrepreneur Summit (YES!) at United National Indian
Tribal Youth (UNITY) National Conference in San Diego. YES! is designed to inspire Native
youth to pursue their dreams in business and entrepreneurship. This was the largest YES! event
in the National Center’s history, with over 2,000 attendees in the general session. YES! hosts
were Becca Lynn and Dyami Thomas, and the program featured Sam McCracken, General
Manager and visionary of Nike’s N7 Fund. We also enjoyed interactive programming from REAL
Entrepreneurship, owned by the Sequoyah Fund, which is a Native CDFI, to go along with
breakout sessions specifically on entrepreneurship and business development. It was wonderful
to partner with UNITY for the YES! summit as we continue the great collaboration between our
two organizations.

The National Center continues to provide services and support to our communities, tribally
owned businesses, and entrepreneurs. As we mentioned last week, on July 24 th we will host our
first Native Edge Institute (NEI) in New Mexico. We still have seats available for this great event,
which is powered by KeyBank Foundation. We will not only have great training sessions and
consultation opportunities, but NEI will feature roundtables with matchmaking opportunities from
the Department of Energy. If you are in New Mexico or not far away, we would love to have you
join – but don’t wait to register!

The New Mexico NEI is only our first of these events – we are soon opening registration to our NEI
event in Seattle, supported by Artic IT and Microsoft. It will be held on the Microsoft Campus in
Redmond, WA. This NEI will be focused on Technology, and availability will be limited. There
will be talks by David Emerald, author of “The Power of TED,” as well as Lillian Sparks
Robinson, former administrator at the Department of Health and Human Service’s
Administration for Native Americans (ANA). Lillian is also a Board Member of the National
Center. As a perk for registering early, the first 20 to sign up will get a behind-the-scenes tour of
Microsoft’s Redmond Campus.

We will continue our work on behalf of Indian Country. We thank you for your continued support.