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President’s Message – March 2024


We are just a few days away from the 2024 Reservation Economic Summit, and I hope to see many of you there. In fact, there will be more of “you” at RES than ever. We are on track to break the record 4,100 people who attended last year’s RES!

This year’s RES promises to be one of the best yet, with more than 100 breakout sessions, great speakers spanning both business and government, incredible networking opportunities, a sold-out trade show and artisan market, and countless opportunities to grow and expand your business. If you haven’t already registered, good news – you still can! Just visit res.ncaied.org to learn more and secure your spot today.

One of our focus areas this year at RES, and really across everything we do at The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, is international trade. I’m excited to announce that U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai will be a keynote speaker at RES. As a member of the President’s Cabinet, Ambassador Tai is the principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on U.S. trade policy. I’m looking forward to Ambassador Tai’s remarks, and also ready to work with her through the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, to which I was just appointed.

Staying on the policy front, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the bipartisan Native American Entrepreneurial Opportunity Act, sponsored by Reps. Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Eli Crane (R-AZ). This bill has been a longstanding policy priority for The National Center because it would strengthen the Office of Native American Affairs at the Small Business Administration (SBA), including establishing an Assistant Administrator position with a direct report to the SBA Administrator. House passage is a big step forward for this legislation, and I look forward to working with Reps. Davids and Crane, and sponsors of the Senate bill Senators John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) to ensure this bill becomes law.

We will be talking about this legislation, and everything related to Indian Country’s economy, starting on Monday, March 11 in Las Vegas. I encourage you to be a part of it – to be a part of the “strength in unity” found throughout the four days we will gather for RES.

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