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During the week of July 18, 2021, four Native Nations Institute (NNI) staff attended Reservation Economic Summit (RES 2021), the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s premier networking and education event. Executive Director Joan Timeche (Hopi) moderated the panel “Native Women Lead: Women Innovating in Business & Beyond,” featuring presentations by Liz Gamboa, Jaime Gloshay, Alicia Ortega, April Tinhorn, and Linda Cooley. Timeche kicked off the discussion with data on the role of women in business and an interactive word cloud to help participants see some of the greatest challenges Native women entrepreneurs face:
Panelists’ follow-on remarks included powerful personal examples and encouragement, often in response to the issues audience members identified. Feedback on the session suggests that many participants will take to heart the panelists’ advice about perseverance and self-care.
“Native women wear multiple hats and play critical roles in our families and communities, including as business owners. They face obstacles but have remained resilient, strong, and innovative.”
On July 21, Timeche co-presented with NNI Research Director Miriam Jorgensen “Economic Diversification: Economic Challenge of Rebuilding a Nation,” which showed how the basic tenets of Native nation building help create sustainable and resilient Native economies. Attended by more than 200 in-person and virtual participants, the session featured numerous examples of strong Native governance supporting self-determined Native community development. As Jorgensen observed,
“There’s no substitute for getting the foundations right. From the Ketchikan Indian Community to the Muscogee Creek Nation, and from the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community to the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Native nations show how exercising sovereignty, building institutions that work and that reflect their culture, and using seven-generation thinking leads to better outcomes.”
The NNI booth was a perfect place for Senior Program Coordinator Davida Delmar (Navajo Nation/Diné) and Senior Researcher/Outreach Specialist Danielle Hiraldo (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina) to network, answer questions about NNI programs and materials, build partnerships, and have fun with Native nation trivia and NNI prizes. Plan to stop by and join in next year!