WASHINGTON, DC – The New Day Now rally featuring Native American business leaders, Congressman Bennie Thompson (Mississippi), and hundreds of American Indians gathered on the West front of the U.S. Capitol was a highlight of the second consecutive Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in DC, hosted by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (The National Center). The rally affirmed and advanced economic development in Indian Country, and served as a kickoff for a jam-packed day on Capitol Hill for conference participants. The day included a listening session with Members of Congress from both parties in the House and the Senate, a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on legislation key to Indian Country, and a reception for RES attendees and lawmakers. National Center President and CEO Gary Davis outlined the importance of the rally and the issues discussed in an op ed, published in The Hill on Wednesday.
“The New Day Now rally was a resounding success, uniting Indian Country behind a new economic development agenda and helping to make our collective voices heard,” said Gary Davis. “The National Center is focused on addressing the stumbling blocks facing the growth of an American Indian economy. Those issues must be overcome so we can provide a more sustainable and self-sufficient Indian Country for future generations of American Indian people. We are committed to living up to our mission of meaning business for Indian Country and the great amount of support we received today affirmed that we are indeed ready for a new day.”
“It’s an honor to speak with Indian Country’s business leaders at this year’s Reservation Economic Summit,” said Senator Jon Tester (Montana), Vice Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Senator Tester spoke to conference attendees on the Hill. “NCAIED is a strong advocate for Native American entrepreneurs, and by working together, we can increase opportunity and create jobs in Indian Country.”
RES DC, which lasts through Thursday, June 18th, is the premier economic conference serving Indian Country. The conference featured networking opportunities with high-level government officials, tribal government and business leaders, corporations both large and small, exciting and informative sessions on a wide variety of topics. It also included an Interactive Access to Capital Fair to connect Indian Country to financial institutions capable of funding their business ideas, and a Buy Native Procurement Expo to match Native American businesses with procurement opportunities.
“In New Mexico and across the country tribal communities have incredible economic potential waiting to be tapped,” said Senator Martin Heinrich (New Mexico), who participated in the legislative update. “NCAIED’s summit offers Native American businesses tools they can use to expand, creating more economic opportunities in Indian Country.”
Also, for the first time, the National Center’s Native Edge– the exciting new cloud-based and one-stop resource for American Indian business empowerment – was made available for conference attendees for both participation and signing up. RES DC featured an opening day session to overview the Native Edge and provide live demonstrations of the innovative online platform. For more information or to sign up, please visit: www.nativeedge.com.
“Across America we have children with limitless potential living on the periphery – but we’re quickly gaining momentum to change that,” said Senator Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota), who also spoke to RES attendees on the Hill. “Just two weeks ago, the first bill I introduced to help improve the lives of Native children unanimously passed the U.S. Senate. Now, we’re seeing bipartisan movement in the U.S. House. As we convene today there is no better moment to help realize better opportunities and resources for our next generation of tribal leaders than the present, while we are in the midst of unprecedented support for this goal.”
During its day on the Hill, the National Center honored Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) with its Congressional Achievement Award. Senator Murkowski, who is the Chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee as well as the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, discussed the subcommittee’s recently-introduced appropriations bill, reiterating her strong support for steady funding for programs and agencies serving Native Americans.
Continuing a strong focus on policy, National Center Chairman Derrick Watchman participated in a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on Access to Capital in Indian Country on Wednesday. The hearing, including Chairman Watchman’s testimony, can be viewed here. Earlier in the day, Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Senator John Barrasso (Wyoming) keynoted the conference breakfast, telling the crowd, “There is a lot of work left to do, and today’s hearing is a good start. I intend to continue working on all of these issues as chairman – to help tribes, their economies, and all of their members achieve greater success.”