December 2016 Newsletter

December 7, 2016

In looking back, It's been an incredible year of very significant changes in our program. We formulated our inaugural Advisory Board of Directors, hired new staff, launched the Tribal Economic Leadership program in partnership with the Native American Finance Officers Association, and prepared for the Entrepreneurship for American Indian Sustainability class to be held in the spring. We're happy to be part of a dynamic working group and community at ASU and have enjoyed the many new partnerships we've created with agencies and tribes outside of our institution. We wish everyone happy holidays and new beginnings as we close out 2016.


Greetings from AIPI Director

Dr. Traci Morris



It is hard to believe that it’s the end of 2016; this year has flown by. A year ago, we at AIPI were in the middle of a formal reorganization and we had only two staff and little programming.  During 2016, we have grown so much. Now we have new and expanded programming, a formal advisory board, and a terrific group of folks that I’m honored to have as my staff. I’m grateful every day to work with my staff and alongside of them.  Next month, we’ll release our first annual report to fill you in on the work we’ve been doing.  We will also have several announcements, one about a new leadership seminar and two, about our new entrepreneurship initiative.   Until then, I hope you have a very merry holiday season.


Ayukpa Nitak Hollishto!




Fall Tribal Financial Manager Certification Session Has Record Attendance

This may be the largest Tribal Financial Manager Certification (TFMC) training yet with over 65 participants from 40 tribes and Native organizations from across the U.S. The fall session of TFMC is being held at the ASU Tempe campus, December 6-8, 2016.

 In addition, TFMC has new presenters this session including Robert Yoder of the Yoder & Langford law firm, Steve Heeley of the Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld law firm, Terry Cornelius from the Oneida Nation Finance Department, and AIPI's Research and Legal Analyst Bartley Harris. They will offer training in Self-Determination and Self-Governance, Taxation, Emerging Issues and Federal Indian policy.

TFMC training will provide in-depth information on grant management under the Office of Management and Budget’s new Uniform Guidance, budgeting, indirect costs, and federal Indian law as it relates to tribal finance. For many tribes, it is the first year they will have implemented the OMB's new Uniform Guidance grant reforms. 

"I think it will be a great training. There is a wide variety of attendees from all over the country who work in various fields – health care, school boards, the federal government, libraries. Everyone should learn a lot from their classmates," said Sasha Pachito, TEL program coordinator. 

"Our emerging issues topic will cover how to present financial information to elected leadership. This should be useful to participants as tribal elections can bring change to leadership. New leaders may not always understand financial information, documents, etc., as well as their staff so this will be a great opportunity for them to learn how to best present this information to their Tribal Councils," said Pachito.

The emerging issues topic will also discuss how tribes can be included in financial policy initiatives like tax reform with the new Congress.

"Tribal governments have always had much to give to the economy and our role has never been more important. With 2016 coming to a close, TFMC could not have come at a better time. We have a new President, a new Congress, and for some tribes, elections were held last month giving them new leadership," said Jennifer Parisien, of the Native American Finance Officers Association. NAFOA is a co-sponsor of the TFMC training.

 "While Indian Country is diverse, we share a common interest to advance and improve the general health, welfare, and education of our people, and supply our people with needed governmental services such as law enforcement, judicial systems, social services, housing, and economic development. To this end, Indian Country has invested in many entrepreneurial ventures that have created jobs and contributed to the local and state economy, which has made tribal finance more complicated than a state or local government," said Parisien.

She also added, "It is our hope that the December TFMC class, with both the core curriculum and emerging issues discussions, will give tribal finance professionals the utilities needed to face unique challenges in the next year and impact their own tribal economies in a positive way." 

For more information on TEL or TFMC, feel free to visit our website on the latest training and events.



AIPI Welcomes New Research and Policy Analyst 

Brian HowardPlease welcome Brian Howard as our new Research & Policy Analyst with the American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) at Arizona State University. Prior to joining the AIPI team in November 2016, Brian served over five years as a Legislative Associate with the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, DC.

Working on behalf of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, Brian’s work included developing and advocating tribal policy initiatives in Congress and the Administration on issues such as Telecommunications, Government Contracting, and Cultural Protections (Sacred Places, Eagle Feather/Eagle Protections, NAGPRA, and Mascot issues). Brian’s work experience has included numerous D.C.-based research and policy internships, as well as with the New Mexico House of Representatives and the Gila River Indian Community Council’s Office.

Brian graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2009 with his Bachelor of Arts degree in Native American Studies focusing on Federal Indian Law and Policy with a minor in Political Science. He is Akimel O’odham, Tohono O’odham, and Pi-Pash, and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community where he grew up in the Komatke District.




Entrepreneurship for American Indian Sustainability Registration Now Open

Registration is still open for ASU students to attend the Entrepreneurship for American Indian Sustainability class offered this spring. For more information, contact Bartley Harris at or visit our website.

Entrepreneurship for American Indian Sustainability



Sovereignty and E-Commerce:  Innovating and Reshaping the Borders of Indian Country 

Many Native American tribes in the United States have recently become involved in pursuing business operated over the Internet, thus relieving some of the physical realities of modern, yet still remote, Indian country.  These E-Commerce opportunities have not only created thriving economies, but they have also led to a tangled web of legal issues where state, tribal and federal laws and policies are colliding. The quick growth of E-Commerce in Indian Country has outpaced a general understanding of how Tribal Digital Sovereignty and E-Commerce law is intertwined with federal Indian law especially as it may relate to States’ rights.

The goal of this conference is to explore the legal issues surrounding the development of E-Commerce in Indian Country including: the changing political landscape,jurisdictional complexities and the necessity of fostering open dialogue with federal and state counterparts, the possible implications to tribal sovereignty, and the ongoing need for tribes to build infrastructures that facilitate economic growth on their reservations while complying with appropriate federal guidelines. I-Gaming experts, Fantasy Sports and tribal entrepreneurs in varied fields will share strategies and practices of diverse business models of current and for future e-commerce/infrastructure enterprises.

This conference will bring together tribal leaders and government officials, lawyers practicing in Indian country, on and off reservation economic planning and development experts, business and finance specialists, virtual casino managers and executives, online vendors and entrepreneurs, regulatory experts and cutting‐edge scholars to explore the legal issues of Tribal Digital Sovereignty.

 Ecommerce & Sovereignty



Tribal Financial Manager Certification Training  | December 6-8, 2016  | Sponsored by American Indian Policy Institute and Native American Finance Officers Association  |  ASU Memorial Union, Tempe Campus | Tempe, AZ

NICWA Training Institute |  December 6-8, 2016  |  Doubletree by Hilton Portland  |  Portland, OR

40th Annual Pueblo Grande Museum Indian Market  | December 10-11, 2016  |  9am to 4pm |  Pueblo Grande Museum  |  4619 E Washington St, Phoenix, Arizona 85034

ASU Fall American Indian Convocation  |  December 14, 2016  |  8pm  |  Gammage Auditorium  |  Tempe, AZ

Connect 2016 American Indian Chamber Conference & Awards Program  |  December 15, 2016  |  8am to 3pm  |  Courtyard Marriott Salt River  |  Scottsdale, Arizona  |  Sponsored by the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona

22nd Annual Arizona Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day  | January 11, 2017  |  Arizona State Capitol  |  Phoenix, Arizona 

2017 Presidential Transition Meeting for the New Administration  | January 19, 2017  | 9:00am to 4:00pm  | Hyatt Regency Crystal City 2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington VA 22202  | Regency AB Room  

American Indian Inaugural Celebration   |  January 19, 2017 - January 22, 2017  | Hyatt Regency, Crystal City, VA

Native Nations Inaugural Ball  | Jan 20, 2017  |  National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall

Sovereignty and E-Commerce Conference: Renovating and Reshaping the Borders of Indian Country  | February 2-3, 2017  |  Sponsored by ASU Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law   |  Wildhorse Pass Hotel & Casino  |  Chandler AZ 

59th Annual Heard Museum Fair and Market    |  March 4-6, 2017  |  Sponsored by Heard Museum |  2301 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ

National RES (Reservation Economic Summit) Las Vegas  |  March 13-16, 2017 | Mirage, Las Vegas, NV