NNDA launches Tribal Economic Development Initiative

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Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA) launched its new Tribal Economic Development initiative at the USDA organized, Western Tribal Economic Development Forum, in Fallon on Jan. 10. The purpose is to support the goal of each tribal community who wishes to become economically independent while maintaining the values and integrity of their tribal culture and heritage.

As the state-designated regional economic development authority for the Sierra Region of Nevada, NNDA has an established 30-plus year track record of successfully improving and enhancing the communities in the region. Since 2010 alone, NNDA has worked with 67 out-of-state companies to relocate or expand to the Sierra Region, helped 20 local companies with expansion, and provided retention assistance to another 27 companies. NNDA’s efforts resulted in the creation of more than 5,000 new jobs, and the total economic impact for the region was more than $1.7 billion.

NNDA believes that what it has done for the counties of Carson City, Douglas County, Lyon County, and Storey County can be replicated to help each Nevada Tribal Community transition from having a reactive economic approach to a proactive economic vitality strategy. The organization wants to collaborate and partner with the Nevada Tribal Communities, and assist them with attracting credible business partners and investors. NNDA can help facilitate each tribal community’s general improvement of living standards and quality of life for current and future generations, i.e., 7-generational trajectory.

Robert Hooper, executive director of NNDA, has appointed Valerie Meléndez as the NNDA Tribal Economic Development Director. Meléndez is a Northern Nevada Paiute and an enrolled member of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. She was recently selected to participate in the “January in Tucson” program. It is intensive educational sessions on indigenous governance, law and policy, including Native Nations Institute and the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Programs at the University of Arizona Campus.

This partnership will provide strategic counsel and guidance regarding economic development and vitality as well as assist in establishing a permanent Tribal Enterprise Board of Trustees.

One of the focuses will be to facilitate the development of a realistic and attainable strategic plan for the tribes to utilize for future generations. This strategic plan will assist in forging and maintaining an effective relationship with business, elected officials and lawmakers as well as assist in education and obtaining the support of the community. Another key focus will be to augment Tribal economic development efforts already in place in order to ensure future efforts complement and work with current goals.

“Indigenous People are an important part of the fabric we call Nevada,” Hooper said. “NNDA is excited to work with Our Native Nations, and assist them in building strong, prosperous, resilient and proactive tribal economies.

“While our initiative is new and unfunded, we are working diligently to secure program-specific monies. This includes attracting appropriate investors and business partners who share the vision of Nevada Tribal Communities who seek to become economically independent.”

Each tribal community will receive the level of assistance desired based on their tribal community’s needs and desires. NNDA is proud to fulfill the role of active support and partner. Together, we can grow the tribal community’s economy by planning & deploying “Tribe Produced” projects or products that align with the culture and vision of the tribal community. Tribal resources and abilities will be utilized to become the proactive drivers of success in each tribal community and by ensuring projects or products are feasible and doable economically, physically and socially. ❂

Susannah Russell is marketing director for the Northern Nevada Development Authority. Visit www.nnda.org to learn more.


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