The first-ever Native Business Virtual Summit live broadcast (NativeBusinessSummit.com) was a success. The event was live streamed to viewers across North America from the Native Business production studios, November 17-20th. The epic, four-day groundbreaking event featured more than 30 speakers and presenters. Stay tuned to purchase the recording of the TV news-style event at NativeBusinessSummit.com.
Four dynamic days of the Native Business Virtual Summit live broadcast concluded Friday, and feedback about the inspirational experience is pouring in.
“I am absolutely motivated!!! I can’t say that enough. I am almost in tears hearing the good energy, the family component, the nitty gritty very real beginnings of these efforts and business. I’m so moved and inspired…,” Margaret Stevens, daughter of Ernie Stevens, Jr., Chairman and national spokesperson for the National indian Gaming Association (NIGA), told Native Business.
The theme of the Native Business Virtual Summit was “Embracing Innovation to Empower Indian Country.”
READ MORE: From the Editor: Why ‘Embracing Innovation to Empower Indian Country’ Inspired the 2020 Native Business Summit
Every challenge presents an opportunity to innovate and to rise to the occasion.
As Native Business Virtual Summit hosts Gary and Carmen Davis underscored today, business and entrepreneurship require a willingness to adapt, improvise and overcome.
In the words of Carmen Davis (Makah/Chippewa-Cree/Yakama), Executive Editor of Native Business: “Look back at the resiliency that our ancestors demonstrated. We’re always evolving and moving.”
Meanwhile, Gary Davis (Cherokee Nation), CEO of Native Business, spoke to how Native entrepreneurs embody that same sense of self-sovereignty and determination demonstrated by our ancestors at Cahokia, Tenochtitlán and Machu Picchu.
“Things that we aspire to today, they already did before. That’s in you. That’s part of your DNA,” Gary stated while delivering motivational remarks.
The Native Business Virtual Summit 2020 broadcast — live streamed from the Native Business production studios November 17-20, 2020 — featured 30-plus transformational thinkers across Indian Country, including Tribal leaders, business and corporate executives, and Native entrepreneurs.
The TV news-style event employed cutting-edge technology and a vetaran production crew that delivered a high-quality virtual Summit.
Touching and inspirational keynote addresses were delivered by:
- Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, who spoke to Tribal self-determination, protecting and serving Tribal citizens, innovation, and the economic engine of Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Nation Businesses.
- And Marshall Pierite, Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, who delivered a potent keynote address on innovation in Tribal and Native American business. As Chairman, Pierite has spearheaded economic diversification of his Tribe’s portfolio, including into the financial services industry. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and as an entrepreneur, Chairman Pierite also spoke to the creation and purpose of his newest venture: Tribal Solutions Medical.
One on One Interviews featured:
- Mark N. Fox, Chairman of the Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation, whose call-to-action is the need to reduce federal dependency and assert Tribal self-reliance. Chairman Fox weighed in on how COVID-19 has impacted the MHA Nation’s oil and gas business, the Tribe’s ongoing fight for its sovereign property and mineral rights, as well as its advocacy against dual taxation.
- Allen G. Cadreau, CEO of Indian Energy, LLC, explained what it’s like to grow a family-operated business into an international company that creates energy solutions for Tribal, U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Military clients.
- Meanwhile, JC Seneca, Founder of Tallchief Hemp, revealed how he established, capitalized and grew his hemp business into the successful e-commerce operation it is today. Mr. Seneca is passionate about the traditional aspects of hemp — and he emphasized one of the core tenants of entrepreneurship: do what you know and do what you love.
- Robert Miller, Professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University, and author of the 2012 book Reservation “Capitalism”: underscored the need to support the growth of the private sector economy to keep money and resources in Indian Country.
- Additionally, Kate Spilde, Professor at San Diego State University and Endowed Chair of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming, said Tribal Nations asserted self-sovereignty in the ‘80s, and they’re still doing it today — through sports betting and more. She provided original insights on the evolution and innovation of Indian gaming, including the digital and global expansion of the industry.
- Finally, Dave Bailey, President & General Manager of Arctic IT, offered insights into how Tribes can keep pace as technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate. His turnkey insights revealed how Tribes can digitally transform while addressing an increasing number of cyber security challenges. He recommended back-up storage for cloud-based business applications, and even offered forecasts for the future of artificial Intelligence and machine learning.
Native Business Warriors, who delivered entrepreneur mentoring & insights included:
- Lance Gumbs, whose journey as a serial entrepreneur started in prep school. He went on to become proprietor of a gift shop, smoke shop, delicatessen and café. Today he’s the owner of Shinnecock Lobster Factory in the Hamptons. As a Shinnecock Indian Nation Tribal Ambassador, he has leveraged Tribal sovereignty and applied his entrepreneurial genius to create revenue opportunities for his Tribe — such as selling advertising for a Tribally owned billboard on the popular Sunrise Highway in Southampton, New York.
- Sean McCabe, Founder and Managing Member of McCabe CPA Group, talked about choosing the entrepreneurial path and how he started his business, as well as how his accounting and consulting firm has grown its internal resources to provide pertinent updates on COVID-19, federal economic relief, and CARES Act compliance from an accountant perspective.
- JC Seneca, Founder of Tallchief Hemp, Native Pride Travel Plaza and Six Nations Manufacturing, shared how he started his first business in 1987, selling 60 cartons of cigarettes from his camper. He revealed how following ambition can lead to great success if you’re willing to take the leap. Today he owns and operates Native Pride Travel Plaza, Six Nations Manufacturing and Tallchief Hemp.
- Victoria Vasques, Owner and CEO of Tribal Tech, LLC, one of the fastest-growing small businesses in the Washington, D.C. federal marketplace, told Carmen Davis about all the effort that went into developing past performance to garner federal contracts, and how she managed the growth edges of her company.
- Finally, Ahsaki Báá LaFrance Chachere, the Diné Founder and CEO of Ah-Shí Beauty, spoke to choosing to go all-in on herself as an entrepreneur, and the potency of Native representation in the luxury beauty market. She self-capitalized her business and also embraced personal brand-promotion, ultimately garnering Ah-Shí Beauty press in Harper’s Bazaar.
- Notable panelists contributed to our Energy Roundtable, including James Campos, Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy; Kevin Frost, Director of the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy; and Allen G. Cadreau, Founder and CEO, Indian Energy, LLC. The ultimate takeaways of our Energy Roundtable included how essential Tribal Nations are to national energy dominance, how to leverage U.S. Department of Energy programs and incentives to fund Tribal energy infrastructure projects, and the advantages of microgrids that can empower Tribal sovereignty and self-determination.
- Our CEO Roundtable featured Chuck Garrett, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses; Troy Clay, CEO of MNO-Bmadsen, and Derek Valdo CEO of AMERIND. Conversation focused on deploying innovative and streamlined communications, particularly amid the pandemic, to uplevel business operations.
- Meanwhile our Gaming Roundtable: Advancing Indian Gaming Past the Coronavirus Pandemic, dove into the “new normal” for Indian gaming and forecasts for a post-COVID landscape. We also tackled conversations about Tribal casino – NFL partnerships. Participants included Ernie Stevens, Jr., Chairman, National Indian Gaming Association; Gabe Aguilar, President of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, and Mississippi Choctaw Tribal Chief Ben Cyrus.
Our two incredibly potent panels addressed Tribal online economic development and post-election politics.
- Our Panel: Tribal Online Economic Development – Leveling the Playing Field with Technology delved into the role that technology has played in Tribe resilience and economic self-determination — particularly for geographically remote Tribes, like the Chippewa Cree Tribe in Montana, as Steve Parker, CEO of Plain Green, LLC, illustrated for Summit viewers. Otoe-Missouria Tribe Chairman John Shotton explained how American Web Loans is vital to his Tribe’s economy, particularly amid a pandemic. And Maranda Compton, Partner, Van Ness Feldman, LLP, mapped out how utilizing technology inherent in driving the gig economy can contribute to building a regenerative Native economy.
- Our other panel, Post Election Politics & Impacts On Indian Country, featured informed voices to shed awareness and offer insights on what election results may mean for the next four years. Greg Porter, Partner at Catalyst Group, explained how runoff elections in Georgia, in effect, will decide the future of politics over the next four years by affecting the Senate majority. Kimberly Teehee, Director of Government Relations for Cherokee Nation, and Senior Vice President Cherokee Nation Businesses, and the Delegate-designate to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Cherokee Nation, spoke to the significance of the U.S. government upholding treaty rights, and how she intends to advocate for Tribal issues in the U.S. House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Clara Pratte, Tribal engagement director for the Biden Campaign and CEO of Strongbow Strategies, noted the level of engagement of the Biden-Harris campaign with Native communities across Indian Country, and how she anticipates President-elect Joe Biden making good on his promises to Indian Country in the Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations.
Native Business Awards
The final day of the Summit included our highly anticipated Native Business Awards presentations.
- The Tribal Sovereignty Champion of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has fought to protect Tribal sovereign rights. Native Business presented this award to Mark N. Fox, Chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation). “Chairman Fox demonstrates perseverance and devotion to protecting, defending and upholding Tribal sovereignty,” stated Gary Davis.
- The Entrepreneur of the Year Award celebrates and champions the continuation and proliferation of one of the most traditional activities we as Native people can engage in, entrepreneurship. Native Business presented the Entrepreneur of the Year Award to JC Seneca, Founder of Tallchief Hemp, Native Pride Travel Plaza and Six Nations Manufacturing. “JC Seneca has mastered the vertical integration of businesses. His operations are completely self-sufficient, and revenue from one is funneled to capitalize the next,” said Carmen Davis.
- The Business of the Year Award honors a Native American-owned and operated business that is committed to innovation, excellence and executing its vision. Native Business presented our Business of the Year Award to Allen G. Cadreau, Founder and CEO of Indian Energy, LLC. “Indian Energy, LLC, is demonstrating innovation in the energy sector at an unprecedented scale, creating energy storage and microgrid solutions for Tribal Nations and DOD clients, and ultimately playing a vital role in advancing the United States’ energy sovereignty,” Gary Davis said.
- The Tribal Enterprise of the Year Award recognizes an economic arm or business generating revenue and creating essential jobs for a Tribal Nation. Native Business presented the Tribal Enterprise of the Year Award to Chuck Garrett, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses.
- The Native Disruptor of the Year Award honors a person or people stirring things up and challenging the status quo. A Native Distruptor exemplifies the spirit of innovation. Native Business presented the Native Disruptor of the Year Award to Clara Lee Pratte, CEO of Strongbow Strategies.
Every aspect of the TV news-quality Native Business Virtual Summit live broadcast was innovative — from the Virtual Biz Spotlights, offering an empowering peek into successful Native businesses, to even the state-of-the-art commercials.
Don’t miss our recording of 11-plus hours of informative, inspiring and motivational content when it’s released and available for purchase. Continue checking back on NativeBusinessMag.com, NativeBusinessSummit.com and on Native Business social handles for more information. Stay tuned.