President’s Message August 2021

President’s Message August 2021

I hope many of you were able to attend RES 2021, which wrapped up just a few weeks ago. This year’s RES was incredibly successful, with some of our best attendance in years despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and our new date in July. Well over 2,500 people were at RES where they networked, heard from fantastic speakers like Wes Studi, listened to talented musicians such as Raye Zaragoza, and attended dozens of sessions and panels featuring experts discussing the most important topics facing Indian Country businesses today.

It was fantastic to see everyone again in person. For those who joined us virtually, I hope you enjoyed your experience. We look forward to welcoming you in person next year. It was great to see people and network in person, but we cannot ignore the fact that COVID-19 is still very much a challenge, and will be for some time. We know how to mitigate risk to help our lives get back to normal, but you must do your part. If you haven’t already, please get vaccinated, wear your masks when you’re not able to distance, and be smart. Indian Country has led the way in pandemic response – let’s keep it that way.

RES would not have been possible without you, and certainly not without our incredible sponsors. I would like to take a minute to thank our diamond sponsors in particular, including Diné Development Corporation, UpHealth, Redline Media Group — FX Reservation Dogs, Caesars Entertainment, Cedar Band Corporation, Mad River Brewing Company, Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development and UPS. Thank you to The Key Bank Foundation for their three-year commitment and support of our technical assistance programs. We are very appreciative of your support of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian businesses.

Our work doesn’t begin and end at RES. Over the coming weeks we will continue our programming through our Native Edge Institutes. We will be on opposite sides of the country – in Hawaii and Brooklyn, New York. Visit for more information about these fantastic one-day training events that can be accessed virtually – for free.

August is typically a time many people are traveling and taking summer vacation. And you should – I know we can all use a break after the least year and a half. But I also want to re-emphasize one of the messages you heard at RES… the importance of advocacy. The need for Indian Country to assert itself and lead the conversations occurring in local, state, and the federal government. We’ll have a chance to do just that in the coming months, as Congress continues to work on legislation that will allocate billions in America’s infrastructure. It’s up to us to make sure Native communities get their fair share of these important investments.

Thank you, and I hope you have a great August.

Chris James

Chief Executive Officer and President

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development

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