A Message from National Center President and CEO Chris James

As the year winds down and we enter the holiday season, I think about a quote from Winston Churchill, “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” At the National Center, we have a lot to rejoice and to look back on in 2019. The work and mission of the National Center would not be possible without the incredible team of dedicated individuals who everyday stand by our core values and mission as an organization. Our team includes new faces, and familiar names promoted to new roles, such as Chad Marchand who is now our vice president. It is a pleasure and an honor to work with every member of our staff and Board of Directors and I look forward to our shared progress in the months ahead. We also want to thank our many partners, supporters, and clients. This year, our team has grown, and our services have expanded, both of which will continue in the new year.

Over the last several weeks, our growth was on display through two events on opposite ends of the country. On December 10, we joined with the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) for “N2N: Building the Native-to-Native Economy” in San Diego. The event focused on how to work with the tribal gaming industry, ad well as a curated matchmaking session that facilitated meetings between a variety of Native-owned companies and tribal gaming operations. It was a first-of-a-kind event, made possible with the support of Wells Fargo. We look forward to future partnership opportunities to bring this kind of great programming to Indian Country. In our December newsletter, one of the participants in this great event – Wehay QuisQuis of the San Pasqual Economic Development Corporation – gives us his perspective on the value of N2N.

On December 17, we moved across the country to Washington, DC for our latest Native Edge Institute – and our first in Washington, DC. With a heavy focus on procurement and contracting, NEI DC provided attendees with top-notch programming covering nearly all aspects of working with the federal government. Representatives from the American Petroleum Institute, which provided us with the beautiful space for the NEI, discussed the many opportunities in the oil and gas sector. In 2019, we significantly expanded these one-day training events, including our first on the East Coast. In 2020, we’ll continue this robust programming with even more stops in new parts of the country – including on January 30 in Denver, Colorado. I hope to see you at one of these events in 2020!

While it’s easy to forget in the holiday shuffle, the Reservation Economic Summit is just over two months away. RES 2020 promises to be bigger and better than ever, so make sure you register to secure your spot. In one of our current spotlights, we talked to Liz Gamboa of New Mexico Community Capital about their great work, including the what they have in store at RES. Make sure to visit them while you’re in Las Vegas.

Thank you again for your support of the National Center. I look forward to our continued work to create economic opportunity in Indian Country. I hope you have a great holiday season and a very happy New Year.


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

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