Published On: Fri, Apr 19th, 2013

Tribal officials attend Native finance conference

Principal Chief Michell Hicks addresses the crowd at the Native American Financial Officers Association Conference held April 18-19 in Nashville, Tenn.  (USET photos)

Principal Chief Michell Hicks addresses the crowd at the Native American Financial Officers Association Conference held April 18-19 in Nashville, Tenn. (USET photos)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) held its 31st Annual Conference in Nashville on April 18-19. NAFOA helps build the financial strength of Tribal governments and their enterprises by providing educational forums and resources and by instilling finance and accounting best practices.

Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell speaks to NAFOA about the importance of maintaining the Tribal language, culture and traditions.  He also introduced a video of Kituwah Language Academy students singing the Cherokee Morning Song as a welcome to NAFOA attendees.

Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell speaks to NAFOA about the importance of maintaining the Tribal language, culture and traditions. He also introduced a video of Kituwah Language Academy students singing the Cherokee Morning Song as a welcome to NAFOA attendees.

USET President Brian Patterson and Principal Chief Michell Hicks opened NAFOA’s Annual Conference on Thursday, April 18 with prayer and opening remarks. President Patterson took a moment to remember tragedy that struck America, “With the good heart and the good mind we are here to learn and carry back to our homes critical information for us to make advances with our finances, our Tribal enterprises, economic development, and above all strength to rebuild our Indian nations.”

Chief Hicks and Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell made opening remarks as the Chair sponsors of NAFOA’s annual conference. Chief Hicks also served as a member of the first discussion panel of the morning with Tribal leadership: Building Effective Partnerships. The roundtable discussion dealt with the ability to deploy private sector capital along with Tribal and external government resources when economic and community development opportunities arise can translate into more opportunities for those at home and more diverse sound Tribal economy.

EBCI Deputy Finance Officer Kim Peone attends the opening NAFOA Session on Thursday, April 18.

EBCI Deputy Finance Officer Kim Peone attends the opening NAFOA Session on Thursday, April 18.

“If you’re going to do business with Indian Tribes, it comes with a commitment,” said Chief Hicks.  “You have to support the community. It’s not a one foot in and one foot out for you businesses. I say this very respectfully, that organizations and businesses seeking us will not get a free ride because we (Tribes) work with a high level of sophistication and have a great understanding of finance, business, and law. You also have to understand our sovereignty and how it works. If you follow these things you will be successful in business with Indian Country.”

Employees with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Finance Division are shown at the NAFOA conference.  Shown (left-right) back row – Gerry Grady, purchasing manager; Amy Kalonaheskie, revenue and taxation manager; Cindy Chandler, investment analyst; Cory Blankenship, treasury director; front row – Angie Votaw, budget manager; and DeMakus Staton, grants and contract supervisor.

Employees with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Finance Division are shown at the NAFOA conference. Shown (left-right) back row – Gerry Grady, purchasing manager; Amy Kalonaheskie, revenue and taxation manager; Cindy Chandler, investment analyst; Cory Blankenship, treasury director; front row – Angie Votaw, budget manager; and DeMakus Staton, grants and contract supervisor.

Seneca Holdings CEO David Kimelberg served on the following panel which discussed markets and what they are telling Indian Country. This panel discussed economic trends, asset classes and risk, industries, and policies.

Other speakers and presentations from the USET region included:

– Inter-Tribal Organization Tax Initiative (IOTI) by former Seneca president Robert Odawi Porter and USET executive director Kitcki Carroll

– Economic Development Diversification

– Short term lending markets issues by Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana Council Member Brenda Lintinger who also serves as USET secretary

– Fraud Analysis and Case Studies by Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians chief financial officer Larry Kovach

– Strategic Financial Planning by EBCI treasurer Cory Blankenship

– Discussion on what a Chief Financial Officer and Tribal Council should know by EBCI Deputy Finance Officer Kim Peone

– USET 

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