The Reservation Economic Summit is less than three weeks away – have you secured your ticket yet? It’s not too late to register! I am getting very excited about what we have in store for you at RES 2019, especially since we are celebrating 50 years of the National Center. That’s 50 years of being the leading voice for economic development in Indian Country. 50 years of creating opportunities for tribes and Native-owned businesses across the United States.

The RES agenda reflects the past, present, and future of economic development in Indian Country. We’ll have sessions on gaming, agriculture, technology, procurement, energy, infrastructure, finance, and even the emerging field of tribal hemp and marijuana. RES will feature experts and inspiring speakers from both within and outside of Indian Country, and entertainment from music stars like Raye Zaragoza and Matt Stillwell. It’s the can’t-miss event in Indian Country and I can’t wait to see new and old friends alike at Paris Las Vegas.

Of course, the National Center is more than just RES. Last month, we hosted our first Native Edge Institutes on the East Coast, in Orlando, Florida and Cherokee, North Carolina. It was great being back in my hometown of Cherokee and expanding the reach of our programming East of the Mississippi. We are planning two additional NEIs on the East Coast this year, and have hired Jason Lambert as a Business Development Specialist to help facilitate these events and our East Coast outreach in general. I’m excited about Jason’s addition to the team and look forward to working with him. If you missed our NEIs, you can watch the archived webcast by clicking here.

Our work extends beyond our own borders, too. In February, our Board Chairman Derrick Watchman and Board Member Ernie Stevens, Jr. made the trek across the pond to London to discuss international trade and opportunities in Indian Country with officials from both the United Kingdom and the United States. The National Center has a special focus on global trade and I’m glad that we’re continuing to make these important connections with our friends in the UK and beyond. In fact, one of our RES sessions will focus on the international marketplace for tribes and Native-owned business. We’ll often have brothers and sisters from Canada’s First Nations and aboriginal leaders from Australia and New Zealand in attendance at RES.

RES truly is the culmination of a full year’s worth of hard work and is a way to showcase the work the National Center does all year long. I look forward to you being a part of our story starting on March 25th at Paris Las Vegas.


Chris James
President and CEO
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development