NAU hosts first tribal economic outlook conference

Dave Anderson

Tourism and the impact of the tribal economy on the state will be on the agenda at the Center for American Indian Economic Development’s Tribal Economic Outlook Conference on April 9.

Dave Anderson of Famous Dave’s of America will serve as the keynote speaker. Anderson is a member of the Courte Oreilles Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe. In addition, experts from Northern Arizona University’s W.A. Franke College of Business will address representatives of at least 11 tribes.

The half-day conference at the High Country Conference Center begins with breakfast at 8 a.m. Individual tickets and corporate tables are still available.

Levi Esquerra, program director at the economic development center—which is a division of the Alliance Bank Business Outreach Center—said the first-ever conference has modeled itself after the long-running economic outlook conference held on campus for the past 39 years.

“I want the tribes to know there are tremendous opportunities in tourism, and I want people to recognize the impact tribes have on the economy in Arizona,” said Esquerra, who also directs the Arizona Rural Policy Institute. “It’s a good opportunity to interact with tribes and understand what makes them unique.”

Esquerra said topics such as the transaction privilege tax, Arizona Benefits Fund and federal agencies that serve tribes in Arizona will also be covered.

Cheryl Cothran, director of the Arizona Hospitality Research and Resource Center, will present a tribal tourism outlook. Tribal economic impact in the state will be presented by Jeffrey Peterson, a research associate in the Rural Policy Institute.

In addition, Ernie Jones, president of the Yavapai-Prescott tribe, will provide an overview of how the tribe has become a regional economic engine.

Register here for the conference.