Greetings from the Mandalay Bay – Las Vegas!
I’m entering day three of my stay in Vegas for the annual Reservation Economic Summit (RES) convention. Yesterday, we kicked off the trade show portion with a Grand Entry, complete with a traditional drum group and dancers who represented nations and tribes from all over the US and Canada.
Even though this is a business convention, at its core, it’s a celebration of indigenous people, who just happen to be in business, in today’s world. I was so incredibly proud to represent the Seneca Nation of Indians, and my company Seneca Holdings, at this event where I mingled with people from the Ojibway, Cree, Muskogee, Seminole, Potowami, and many other nations. This is absolutely, 100%, my kind of conference.
I have to start getting ready for day two of the RES trade show, but before I do, I leave you with some of my highlights from the first day!
- I met Wab Kinew yesterday! Wab is a Canadian journalist and is a very vocal advocate for the Idle No More movement. We actually spent some time talking about Idle No More and how important it is. We also talked about the need for Native presence in the media and in the communications field. This pretty much made my trip. Wab, you the man!
- Spoke with the GM’s of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team and they announced that the 2015 World Games will be held at Onondaga, near Syracuse, NY! This is BIG folks. HUGE. This is the first time any international competition, of any sort, will be held on indigenous lands! No, the world isn’t coming to America, they’re coming to Indian Country! I am so excited that the Iroquois Nationals succeeded in winning this bid to host the games. It’s going to require a lot of participation from a lot of people to pull off, but in the end, this will be a monumental tournament for Indian Country. Fundamentally, this is our game and we’re excited to show off our game and our cultures to the world stage. I gave them my card, I would be beside myself if I didn’t take any part in this.
- I went to the 40-under-40 mixer and heard my favorite quote of the day: “Today, I am proud to be indigenous.” Whoa. Me, too. I’m always proud to be indigenous, as I’m sure he is, but yesterday… it was especially true. I also heard from the woman who started the 40-under-40 awards and it was incredibly moving. She spoke about the importance of VAWA and how that, and the men and women of the 40-under-40, are moving Indian Country in the right direction. She cried a little while talking about these leaders and VAWA, making her speech move me. It was inspiring to say the lease. It made me think of where I got my first lessons in leadership, from my Mom. A strong Native woman who was taken too soon.
Off to get ready for day two! Here’s some quick snap shots from the convention. Nya:weh!