Friday, April 1, 2016
Posted by: Bridgette Blair
In 2015/16 our committee has committed to redefining the Tribal Economic Development Committee’s (TEDC) role within AAED as well as our efforts to re-establish trusting relationships with Native American Sovereign Nations within the State of Arizona. In August 2015, we identified the need to turn the AAED pillars of Education, Collaboration, and Advocacy inward so that the 470 plus AAED membership body became aware of the significant Economic Impact Tribal Nations/Communities have on the State of Arizona. There are twenty-two Federally recognized Tribes within the State of Arizona accounting for approximately twenty-eight percent of the land base who operate collectively and autonomously in various development projects and programs to diversify their economies.
Our committee recognizes the diversity of each Tribe and has every intent to engage Native American Communities in a way that fosters collaborative partnerships, delicately balancing this endeavor as to ensure that we are not misperceived as a “voice” for our Sovereign Neighbors. Over the past eight months, our committee has gained some momentum in establishing collaborative working relationships with various influential leaders serving at numerous capacities, from ASU’s American Indian Policy Institute, to U of A’s Native Nation’s Institute, to AIGA – AZ Indian Gaming Association, as well as input from Tribal ED Practitioners who are either entrepreneurs or employed by a Sovereign Nation. In January 2016, our committee officially formed a Tribal Advisory Group which is an open invitation to the aforementioned institutions and practitioners to participate with our TEDC; our committee identified this type of collaboration as a non-invasive way to learn from these distinguished professionals without imposing membership obligations, and in turn we have gained some new membership. Through the support of our Tribal Advisory Group, our Tribal Education Sub-Committee has created a basic, culturally competent, and comprehensive Tribal ED101 course to be launched in April at various Tribal and non-Tribal events to include AAED’s 2016 Spring Conference.
AAED’s Tribal Economic Development Committee will continue to foster these new and trusting collaborative partnerships, and in turn strengthen the bridge-building between member representation of our rural and tribal entities. As we round the corner of this fiscal year, we are excited to launch our Tribal Education Sub-Committee’s Tribal ED101, as well as our collaborative Tribal/Rural round table focused on broadband at this year’s Spring Conference. On June 7th, 2016 we will host our first Tribal Economic Symposium of 2016, followed by a dynamic luncheon presentation by AZ Indian Gaming Association’s Executive Director Valerie Spicer. Our committee anticipates a great start to 2016/17 and is looking forward to sharing our action plan with AAED.