The National Center has long advocated for elevating Native American affairs within the Department of Commerce

March 26, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development is pleased with the Department of Commerce’s recent decision to name Cisco Minthorn as its Senior Advisor for Native American Affairs. Minthorn has a distinguished career working in public policy, and in particular, on issues important to economic development in Indian Country. The National Center has long advocated for the elevation of an Office of Native American Business Development within the Department, as authorized by Congress nearly 15 years ago. Minthorn’s appointment is an important step in the process of ensuring the Department has the necessary staff and resources to address the unique economic concerns of Indian Country.

“We thank the Department of Commerce and Secretary Penny Pritzker for listening to our concerns and appointing Cisco Minthorn as Senior Advisor for Native American Affairs,” said National Center President and CEO Gary Davis. “Cisco has a strong commitment to elevating Native American issues, and his appointment is a step toward codifying a stand-alone Office of Native American Business Development at the Department of Commerce. This office will help fulfill the significant duties of the Secretary to further the business and economic development, trade, and tourism interests of Indian Country – actions for which our organization has long advocated.”

In January, Davis testified before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee’s first meeting of the 114th Congress. His testimony specifically called for elevating and adequately funding a stand-alone Office of Native American Business Development within Commerce – an action 15 years overdue and a high priority for both the National Center and other Native American groups.

Minthorn, who also holds the title of Associate Director of Legislative Affairs, now leads the Department’s government-to-government consultation efforts with Indian tribes and Alaska Native communities, and relations with Native Hawaiian communities, and advises the Secretary on policy matters affecting indigenous communities. Prior to Commerce, Minthorn served as Counsel on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and later the House Natural Resources Committee. In addition to Native American issues, Minthorn worked on energy and resource development during his time in Congress. He is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and holds both a J.D. and Masters of Urban Planning with a concentration in economic development from the University of Michigan.

About the National Center: The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. With over 40 years of assisting American Indian Tribes and their enterprises with business and economic development – we have evolved into the largest national Indian specific business organization in the nation. Our motto is: “We Mean Business For Indian Country” as we are actively engaged in helping Tribal Nations and Native business people realize their business goals and are dedicated to putting the whole of Indian Country to work to better the lives of American Indian people- both now… and for generations to come.

CONTACT: Lewis Lowe; 202-333-2234