The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) invited NAFOA to engage with senior SEC staff to present on and discuss some of the major impediments to economic growth in Indian Country. The event, "Investing in Indian Country" was held at the SEC headquarters in Washington, DC, and was a symbolic and important development in the ongoing effort to strengthen ties between the SEC and Indian Country.
Chair White provided introductory remarks, emphasizing the importance of a strong partnership between the SEC and Indian Country, while citing specific involvement in on-going issues, such as protecting Cobell distributions. NAFOA's Executive Director, Dante Desiderio provided the keynote address. Mr. Desiderio gave a historical overview of Indian policy and outlined the ways the SEC can partner with tribes to create favorable conditions for economic development in Indian Country.
NAFOA discussed the need to fix past policy oversights that stymie the flow of capital into Indian Country and create unfair financial burdens for tribes. For example, tribal governments should be exempt from registration when issuing securities in a manner similar to other governments and tribal entities should be approved as accredited investors.
NAFOA also addressed the critical need for the SEC to support efforts to educate the next generation of Native American financial leaders, ensuring that tribes have future leaders at their helm to continue protecting sovereignty, assets, and resources for future generations. NAFOA suggested that the SEC partner with NAFOA to provide internships for Native American college students participating in the Native American Financial Leaders Academy.
The event, which was sponsored by the American Indian Heritage Committee and the SEC Equal Employment Office, should prove to mark a productive new chapter for Indian Country and the SEC.