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President’s Message – September 2023


Fall is in the air, and at The National Center, that means we’re gearing up for a sprint to the end of the year, including the opening of registration for RES 2024. 

But before we get to what we have in store in the coming months, I want to take time to talk about some of the exciting things that happened over the summer. Though they were thousands of miles and an ocean apart, our team participated in two critical trade-focused events. I had the honor of participating in an APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Forum in Seattle, hosted by the government of Australia. My panel and remarks focused on the challenges and opportunities Indigenous communities face in international trade.

While I was in Seattle, National Center Chief of Staff Erin Abrahamson and Arizona MBDA Export Center Business Development Specialist Kyia Jackson participated in a trade mission to South Africa and Ghana, organized by the International Trade Administration. Erin and Kyia had an incredible experience that opened eyes, and, we hope, doors to a continent that is too often ignored. You can read more about our experiences in a blog post, and if you want to learn more about trade with Africa, please join our next Trade Talks on October 11. Kyia will lead a discussion with William Fanjoy, who is a senior advisor at USAID, with a specific focus on Prosper Africa.

Staying closer to home – but still on the other side of our own continent –Chief of Staff Erin, Director of Communications Emerald Skye Byrd, and Board Member William D. Lowe had the honor of participating in NCAI’s Leading Tribal Nations Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School (HBS). Leading Tribal Nations is a rigorous and innovative program developed and facilitated by HBS. The program is designed to equip tribal leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to advance their capacity for strategic governance. Their participation was a very deserving recognition of their leadership skills and value to Indian Country. We have a brief write-up on our website if you’d like to learn more.

Now, for what’s coming up! We have TWO Native Edge Institutes in October. If you want to take the next step in business, join us for these free, one-day events. The first is in South Sioux City, Nebraska on October 5, and the second will take place on October 19 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Online participation is an option, so if you aren’t in the area or can’t travel, make sure to join us virtually.

And finally, we have officially opened registration from RES 2024! Register now for early bird rates and to secure you’re spot at the premier business event in Indian Country. We are returning to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas from March 11 – 14. Will you be among the thousands who make the annual trip to network, create business opportunities, learn, and help grow our economy? Visit res.ncaied.org to learn more and register.

Thank you, and I hope to see you soon.

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