2013 Conference Photos

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Media Coverage
The 2013 South Dakota Indian Business Conference was pleased to receive media coverage from a variety of sources. Following are two snippets from the coverage in the Rapid City Journal and on Black Hills FOX. Read more on the 'In the News' page on the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance website.

Black Hills FOX: Conference Hopes to Boost Reservation Economies
April 10, 2013
A local organization is taking the reins to help boost the economies on South Dakota reservations. The South Dakota Indian Business Alliance is holding its bi-annual conference this week to educate entrepreneurs on the need for an economic boost.

Rapid City Journal: Conference Focuses on Boosting Business on Reservations
April 14, 2013
It was 2004, and Frank Jamerson needed a business loan. Jamerson, then 31, was short on funds but big on ideas: He wanted to provide DJ services in Little Eagle on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Jamerson, who lives in Little Eagle, had a few hundred dollars worth of sound gear but he needed more capital. His problem? No bank would lend him the money.

Sponsors & Partners
The 2013 South Dakota Indian Business Conference was made possible through contributions and commitment from several sponsors and partners: Bush Foundation; Citi; Dakota Resources; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; First Interstate Bank; First People’s Fund; Four Bands Community Fund; Fredericks, Peebles, & Morgan; Hunkpati Investments; Lakota Federal Credit Union; Lakota Funds; Northwest Area Foundation; South Dakota Small Business Development Center; Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Entrepreneurial Center; and Wells Fargo.

"I thought the conference overall was great and it was nice to see all who braved the weather and made it! I look forward to next year!"
Survey Response

"A hot bath, some hot tea and my own bed after a week of economic development at its finest! Inspired by those who brave storms year round to make effective change in Indian Country. The South Dakota Indian Business Alliance Conference was a definite success!"
Facebook Post

"Learned so much at the SDIBA Conference... Sessions on reservation business ownership and how collecting and collaborating for better data are still making me think- over a week later."
Facebook Post

2013 Conference Highlights

The 2013 South Dakota Indian Business Conference Planning Committee mobilized in October 2012 to begin planning "Building Opportunities in the New Native America," a three-day event that would focus on celebrating successes in South Dakota's Native economic development field as well as exploring solutions to long-standing challenges that still remain. The agenda, which was formulated through a combination of presentation proposals and suggestions from Conference Planning Committee members, included a variety of panels and breakout sessions that would share best practices and spur solution-oriented conversations on forging Indian business in South Dakota's reservation communities and beyond. Topics addressed all four sectors of the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance's strategic approach to sustainability: Governance, Infrastructure, Finance, and Resources.

Download the conference program.
Download a pdf of the 2013 conference highlights.

New on the agenda for the 2013 Conference were the Entrepreneur Resource Workshops, which were designed to provide an overview of critical business-building topics as well as detailed, hands-on assistance from service providers to Native entrepreneurs who were in the process of starting or expanding a business. As an added benefit to Native entrepreneurs who attended the conference, the first South Dakota Indian Business Plan competition with awards of up to $500 was hosted during the conference.

Also new on the 2013 Conference agenda were the Roundtable Sessions that were intended to provide an overview of some of the most pressing issues in Indian business development, followed by solution-oriented, constructive dialogue among session attendees. Speakers from various states, including Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, and Washington D.C., were engaged to deliver a wide range of strategic solutions throughout the conference. An exhibit area was also included in the conference as had been done in past years. Seventeen booths were available for industry related organizations to showcase their programs and for Native entrepreneurs to sell and promote their products and services.

Nearly 200 Tribal and non-Tribal government and program representatives, practitioners, policy-makers, lenders, educators, nonprofit organization representatives, foundations, and entrepreneurs registered for the conference through an online registration system. This registration level was double the registrations from the 2011 conference. Despite the record snowfall, winter weather warnings, and road closures that hit the Rapid City, South Dakota area right at the start of the conference, approximately 100 determined individuals made it to the conference. The South Dakota Indian Business Alliance feels this is a true testament to the dedication that lies within the Native economic development field and parallels the generational struggle of Native communities in permanently breaking the cycle of poverty. As people braved the icy road conditions and the chaos of cancelled flights, they arrived at the 2013 South Dakota Indian Business Conference with positive attitudes and open minds ready to Build Opportunities in the New Native America.

Speaker Presentations

Breaking the Pattern: Hosting Powerful Conversations
One basic step in creating positive change in Native communities is having honest, productive conversations about both needs and opportunities. How can we move forward together when we don’t have real exchange of ideas, discussion of differences, and a process for new ideas to emerge?
David Cournoyer, Plain Depth Consulting

Broadband & Telecommunications in the New Native America
The session will discuss how various tribes are building services in underserved and unserved tribal land areas, and how Tribes are building taxation systems.
Enhancing Broadband Capabilities in the New Native America, Madonna Yawakie, Turtle Island Communications
Broadband & Telecommunications in the New Native America, Tracey Zephier & Randall Hughes

Building the Framework to Implement Policy Strategies
Information is key to understanding any development environment, especially in determining needs and impact. Therefore, this panel will analyze data and information that hugely affects Indian Country development.
Research, Data, Governance, Oh My!, Mary Beth Jager, Native Nations Institute

Building Our Future by Investing in Our Youth
Approximately half of the populations on South Dakota's reservations are comprised of youth, ages 18 and under. With such a large percentage of youth, it is imperative to invest in this segment of the population in order to build a solid future for our communities. This panel will feature programs that are building the entrepreneurial and leadership skills of our youth populations on South Dakota's reservations.
Youth Voices, Keith Ferguson, SDSU Extension
Youth Voices Program Sheet
Additional Youth Resources

Building Tribal Judiciary Systems
A strong independent tribal judiciary that reflects local values and traditions is vital to the success of tribal nations in the modern era. This session will examine best practices in the areas of judicial structure, law and order development, constitutional and legal code analysis and revision services, working agreements between jurisdictions, separation of business and governmental interests, and long-term strategic planning.
Matthew Rappold & Mato Standing High, Owl Nest Consulting

Growing Local Foods Infrastructure
While rural and reservation communities are typically considered food deserts, several organizations are building locally-grown food programs and promoting healthy lifestyles.
National Relief Charities Collaborative Enhanced Garden Project, Mark Ford, National Relief Charities
Tools for Growing Local Foods, Alison Kiesz, South Dakota Department of Agriculture

Government Contracting in Indian Country
This session will focus on strategies and tips for marketing, finding contracting opportunities, and preparation for government contracting as they pertain to Indian Country. A focus on the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and the Small Business Administration 8(a) programs will be featured.
Doing Business with SDDOT, Sandy Burns

The Native Entrepreneurship Journey
Several seasoned Native entrepreneurs share their stories of starting a business on and off reservations throughout the state. This panel is designed to pass on knowledge about overcoming challenges of business ownership, while also celebrating entrepreneurial successes.
Sandy Swallow Gallery, Sandy Swallow

Undercounting American Indian Populations
This presentation was delivered via a webinar platform. Mike McCurry PhD and Mary Killsahundred from the South Dakota State University Rural Life and Census Data Center will present, "Undercounting in American Indian Populations," and analyze how gathering data on Native American populations has not always provided complete or accurate results.
Download the presentation handout.
View a live recording of the webinar.


The South Dakota Indian Business Alliance facilitated an online post-event survey to garner feedback from attendees of the 2013 South Dakota Indian Business Conference. Of the 27 respondents, eight were from a Federal, State, or Local government or program; three were from a Tribal government or program; five were entrepreneurs or small business owners; five were from a nonprofit organization; one was a lender or investor; and five were other types of respondents. Ninety-one percent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that the conference met their expectations, and 96% felt the conference was organized and well-thought out.

An overwhelming majority (96%) of survey respondents felt the topics covered during the conference were relevant to their work, and 92% either agreed or strongly agreed that the information they gained from the conference will help them improve their work. All of those who answered the survey felt the speakers were engaging and knowledgeable on the subjects they presented. The favorite panels among survey respondents were those that showcased youth and adult entrepreneurs, while the favorite activity was the Rez Cafe.

Nearly 90% of survey respondents said they plan on attending the 2015 South Dakota Indian Business Conference. They would like to learn more about funding and investing in private sector businesses and how Tribes are involved or can get involved in this process through various programs or activities. Other topics of interest cited in the survey were housing, green energy, and entrepreneurial resources. In addition, survey respondents noted that the conference was still a quality event and were glad it was still delivered in spite of the blizzard conditions.