Indian business owners, tribal leaders and a U.S. senator, amongst other worthy award recipients, will be recognized for their entrepreneurship, innovation, commitment and success in Indian economic and business development at the upcoming 25th Annual Reservation Economic Summit & American Indian Business Trade Fair (RES2011). Held March 14-17 at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada, the winners will accept their awards from the National Center of American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) at the conference.
American Indian Business Owner of the Year: David Melton of Sacred Power
David Melton, the Laguna Pueblo co-owner and president/CEO of Sacred Power Corporation will receive the American Indian Business Owner of the Year Award. Recently, Melton’s renewable technologies company broadcast a commercial created for the Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011. “We’ve noticed that no solar energy company has ever advertised on the national Super Bowl,” Melton told krqe.com. “We were able to do something about that, at least here locally.”
Sacred Power provides solar and wind-powered generators for federal agencies in addition to several tribally-owned companies, such as the telecommunications firm Mescalero Apache Telecom Inc.
American Indian Tribal Leadership Award: Chairman Brian Cladoosby of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
Chairman Brian Cladoosby of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community earned the American Indian Tribal Leadership Award for his unique approach to self-governance with respect for future generations. “We make decisions based on our belief that ‘we are as permanent as the soil’ and ‘our grandparents’ blood rights and our children’s sovereignty are found in our lands, waters and resources,'” according to his chairman’s statement on the tribe’s website. “The decisions we make and actions we take uphold our way of life.”
Tim Wapato Public Advocate Award: Clara Pratte, U.S. Small Business Administration
For her “unwavering commitment and dedication to American Indian communities and businesses,” Clara Pratte, a member of the Navajo Nation, will receive the Tim Wapato Public Advocate Award, stated a NCAIED press release. In her role as the national director of the Office of Native American Affairs at the U.S. Small Business Administration, Pratte creates tools for American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians to grow successful small business and give back to their Native communities.
Tribal Gaming Visionary & Small Business Empowerment Award: Kurt Luger, executive director of the Great Plains Indian Gaming Association (GPIGA)
The NCAIED considers Kurt Luger, executive director of the Great Plains Indian Gaming Association (GPIGA), a visionary in tribal gaming and small business empowerment for making American Indian-owned businesses and Indian gaming “a driving force in growing infrastructure.”
Congressional Lifetime Achievement Award: U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana)
During the Opening General Session of RES2011 on Tuesday, March 16, U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) will be presented with the Congressional Lifetime Achievement Award “in recognition of his lifelong dedication to the success of NCAIED and to the American Indian communities served by NCAIED.”
Tribal Enterprise of the Year Award: Weeminuche Construction Authority of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
The Weeminuche Construction Authority of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe will receive the Tribal Enterprise of the Year Award for its “dedication to local communities through generosity and community involvement,” according to NCAIED. Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Chairman Gary Hayes will accept the award on behalf of the southwest Colorado-based construction and engineering company.
Corporate Advocate of the Year: NANA Development Corporation
For the support of its stakeholders and investment in the future of Alaska Natives, NANA Development Corporation, located in Anchorage, Alaska, won Corporate Advocate of the Year. This year marked the first time a Native corporation has received this award from NCAIED.
National Native American Woman Owned Business Award: Kathy Meyer of Meyer Contracting
Kathy Meyer of Meyer Contracting Inc., founded in 1984 in Maple Grove, Minnesota, will receive the National Native American Woman Owned Business Award for her “dedication to the development of economic and community well-being through support of tribal communities and the creation of economic infrastructure.”
Youth Entrepreneurship Award: Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA)
The Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) will receive the Youth Entrepreneurship Award, because the association has created business-oriented Native youth programming through its annual LEAD Summer Business Institute.
Volunteer of the Year Award: Karen Jensen
Five-year-and-counting RES volunteer Karen Jensen of Las Vegas, Nevada, won the Volunteer of the Year Award “for demonstrating exemplary selflessness and dedication to the programs and goals of the NCAIED.”