NNAHRA: How Human Resource Teams in Indian Country Are Navigating the Times

Tal Moore, NNAHRA’s Foundation Director, has worked with Tribes for nearly three decades, primarily in the space of human resources, organizational development, strategic planning and performance improvement. He is a descendent of the Pueblo of Isleta. 

NNAHRA — a 2,000-member strong human resources organization for Indian Country — is moving its annual conference to the virtual arena. 

The pandemic has disrupted the business landscape across sectors, causing human resources managers to guide companies in new ways, considering social distancing practices and work-from-home policies and more. HR teams are also playing a role in keeping workers productive, motivated and engaged. Then of course there’s a new set of legal issues to stay apprised of, and processing of paperwork for new hires as well as lay-offs and furloughs. Given the sudden shift to a “new normal,” it’s safe to say HR has never been more essential. 

Native Business previously covered a Webinar hosted by the National Native American Human Resources Association (NNAHRA) titled titled “COVID-19: Dealing with Pandemic in the Workplace.” NNAHRA heard from experts at the law firm Drummond Woodsum about ensuring the HR department’s decisionmaking is transparent and documented and more. The entire webinar is archived online at the Drummond Woodsum website.

READ MORE: Human Resources: Navigating Employment Issues in the Face of COVID-19 

Founded by four Tribes in 1996 as a grass-roots effort, NNAHRA provides education, networking and resources to human resources professionals across the country, including offering crucial Tribal Human Resources Professional Certification. 

Today NNAHRA is more than 2,000 members strong. “We have real solid membership from most of the HR departments across Indian Country,” Tal Moore, NNAHRA’s Foundation Director and a descendent of the Pueblo of Isleta who has worked in Indian Country throughout his 30-year professional career, told Native Business. 

“A solid estimate is about 75 percent of all Tribes are represented at NNAHRA. What we’re looking to do is expand that membership to other HR directors and staff members, and Tribal leadership. We’re focused on getting our elected officials more familiar with HR. We’re also looking to expand among other teams that work with HR internally, like finance,” Moore continued.  

READ MORE: A National Association Focused on Human Resources in Indian Country Has Big Plans to Expand 

Attendance at the association’s annual conference consistently exceeds 500 people. But this year, NNAHRA’s conference is moving to a virtual experience from September 28-30, 2020, 11 am – 5pm EDT.

Currently Confirmed Speakers and Topics include:

  • Confrontation Management – Hector Alvarez
  • Workplace Violence Prevention – Hector Alvarez
  • Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Crisis – Karla Bylund
  • Ethical Conduct as a Successful Organizational Model – Albert Cobos
  • Motivational Conversation: Improving Team Performance and Employee Satisfaction – Albert Cobos
  • New to HR in Indian Country – You are NOT in Kansas Anymore! – Drummond Woodsum
  • Weed Out the Bad: How to Effectively Drug Test in the Age of Marijuana Legalization – Drummond Woodsum
  • Ethics in Human Resources – Drummond Woodsum
  • The Art of Reacting, not Responding – Paul Figueroa
  • Navigating Through Politics and Challenges – Paul Figueroa
  • Lessons Learned from Our Work Stoppage, Life and the Workplace in the AC “After Covid” – Tim Furlong
  • Stock Market Rodeo – Brahm Rossiter
  • How to Help Employees Take Responsibility, Solve Problems, and Achieve Goals – Chris Strouthopoulos
  • Everything is Bigger with my Biases – AmyAnn Taylor
  • Identifying potential leaders within your Tribal Community – Armida and Ernest Vargas
  • Dramatically Increase Communication, Productivity & Profitability thru the True Coaching Process – Brad Worthley
  • Adaptation, What the Heck Just Happened – Jessica Yelnick

Stay tuned at https://nnahra.org/annual-conference/ for updates. 

In recent years, the NNAHRA Board has channeled its focus into offering Tribal Human Resources Professional Certification (THRPC). When Native Business interviewed Moore last year, the organization was expanding and evolving. Among the new directions NNAHRA is growing is human resources regulations and law. 

“Because federal laws for employment are almost all silent as to the applicability to Tribes, it’s a great opportunity for the Tribes to establish what those rules and codes should be for the Tribe. But it’s challenging because some Tribal leaders don’t understand that. They lead by policy or handbook, and it puts a lot of gray in the interpretation for HR people. That’s why THRPC and NNAHRA are so important,” Moore underscored.

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