While the economic development efforts of tribes are quickly growing, Native Americans have long had annual events where industry professionals gather. There are events for Native American physicians, lawyers, financial officers, etc. There is even an annual event and association for Native American administrative assistants. Presented are three of the largest Native American professional gatherings and a couple may even be the oldest.
The National Indian Educators Association (NIEA) has an annual event that is the largest annual conference in Indian Country. This conference brings Native educators from across the nation together for networking, workshops, recognition, and general discussion. The conference attendees range from preschool staffers to tenured university professors. The conference often has an accompanying powwow and activities for students. The site location is decided many years in advance and is not limited to Indian Country. One of the highest attended NIEA conference was held in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The National Congress of the American Indian (NCAI) has a large annual conference where elected tribal officials meet. There are general assemblies, workshops, tradeshow, committee meetings, and discussions that are completed at the annual conference. This is an important conference as tribal officials try to gather consensus on hot topics in Indian Country and Washington, DC. The NCAI has a number of smaller events throughout the year at different locations. It also has a significant midyear conference that is similar to the annual conference.
The Reservation Economic Summit (better known as RES) is an annual business conference that has grown significantly since calling Las Vegas home. Las Vegas has hosted the conference for many years now. This conference is where Native entrepreneurs and tribal economic development personnel gather to network and learn. Corporate diversity departments and government agencies also attend, but typically for the tradeshow. This gives the entrepreneurs an opportunity to make quality contacts for their business.