RES Economic Summit at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa Offers Tribes, Business Leaders Unique Networking Opportunity

NCAIED President Gary Davis. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert

NCAIED President Gary Davis. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert

Guest Commentary

Published July 5, 2016

From July 11-14, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development will host its regional Reservation Economic Summit at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. Cherokee Nation is honored to sponsor and host the annual RES conference in Tulsa, as we are the heart of Indian Country here in Oklahoma.

RES Oklahoma will bring together tribal leaders, elected officials, industry leaders and the American Indian business community to collaborate and network in an innovative and entrepreneurial atmosphere.

As the host tribe for this important event, we are proud to be an integral part of this tribal economic development conference.  The gathering, which is spearheaded by NCAIED Executive Director Gary Davis, a Cherokee Nation citizen, represents a unique opportunity for our most visionary economic leaders to share innovative ideas and successful practices and create new business development possibilities.

Creating business growth and quality jobs infuses our tribal communities with new revenue, and that makes all of Indian Country stronger and more formidable than ever. For our sovereign governments in Oklahoma, we know our economic contributions help the state thrive. Collectively, the state’s 38 tribes have an economic impact of more than $11 billion on the Oklahoma economy and support thousands of quality jobs.

Every day we see our growing economic diversity and expanding American Indian business ventures in Oklahoma grow to new heights. We must keep striving to create jobs for tribal citizens and within our tribal communities, which are often rural and historically fall short on providing career opportunities.

Principal Chief Bill John Baker

Principal Chief Bill John Baker

RES is one of the best gathering places for ideas and products for Indian Country to find a wider audience, where attendance also means access and education to keep abreast of the latest federal regulations and policies. It enables and encourages creative brainstorming with other tribal businesses about new opportunities for improvements, procurement, expansions and idea development. No other gathering has successively brought together tribal leaders, tribal enterprises, corporations and a host of federal agencies to the table to discuss expanded business opportunities not just for tribes and tribal businesses, but also for individual American Indian business owners.

The director of the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency, Alejandra Castillo, will be the keynote speaker and will moderate a breakout session on entrepreneurship. For the Cherokee Nation, creating new entrepreneurs is critical to our long-term future, and it’s something I have always championed as a small business owner myself.  Our Kawi Café, located in downtown Tahlequah, was recently named Best Educational Program by the Native American Finance Officers Association. Kawi Café was started two years ago as a hands-on business training program for aspiring Native American entrepreneurs.

The community of Tulsa and the Cherokee Nation remain focused on supporting and growing entrepreneurs, and RES Oklahoma reinforces this mission with a specifically designed boot camp designed for Native American high school and college-aged students interested in business and entrepreneurship. It is a rare chance to learn more about what it takes to succeed in business.

For more information or how you can attend, please visit


Bill John Baker is the principal chief of the Oklahoma Nation.

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