CIIC Announces Promising Keynotes for 2019 National Conference

TEMPE, Ariz. – Trailblazers in the “Built Environment” will converge for the Construction in Indian Country (CIIC) 2019 National Conference at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel & Casino in Maricopa, Arizona on November 6, 7 & 8. This year’s agenda and conference keynotes include respected tribal and national leaders, ranking government officials and industry innovators from throughout Indian Country.

For keynotes, CIIC has Indian Country Today’s, Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock Tribe) to moderate the Tribal Leaders Talking Circle; Indian Health Services (IHS) Principal Deputy Director, Rear Admiral (RADM) Michael D. Weahkee (Pueblo of Zuni); and NDN Collective’s Managing Director, Michelle Fox (Fort Belknap Indian Community).

The Talking Circle is an open discussion on policy, economic development, infrastructure, Indian gaming and upcoming construction projects. This year promises a lively discussion with Bernadine Burnette, President of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation; Gwendena Lee-Gatewood, White Mountain Apache Tribe’s first-ever elected Chairwoman; and Jonathan Nez, Navajo Nation President.

“It was our Legacy Member, Urban Giff who named it Talking Circle, it’s like the State of Indian Country and it worked out really well last year and had high reviews,” explained CIIC Program Manager, Marcus Denetdale. “There are exciting projects happening in Indian Country; tribal housing and gaming nationwide continues to be strong allowing future growth and development throughout the U.S.”

Thursday’s Keynote, Admiral Weahkee is responsible for approximately 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in hospitals, clinics, and other settings throughout the United States. His address will inform conference attendees of the upcoming fiscal years pipeline of construction projects such as clinics and hospitals mandated and budgeted by the current administration.

“In addition to collaborations and partnerships to promote Indian Health across the nation, our goal is to strengthen the relationship between IHS and ASU, so I think that’ll be a good conversation,” said Denetdale. “ASU has strong relationships with local health organizations and going forward we will continue to host experts on healthcare, hospitality, education, and policy.”

Lastly, Friday’s keynote drives NDN Collective’s mission to scale place-based solutions while building needed philanthropic, social impact investment, capacity and advocacy infrastructure. Fox will share how NDN Collective is focused on development in a regenerative and sustainable manner based on values and connection to land, culture and identity.

CIIC is proud the national conference has become a platform for development in Indian Country and resource for trends, case studies and best practices in the industry. It is tailored for tribal leaders, administrators, native and non-native enterprise owners and operators, small businesses, tribal housing and economic development agencies, workforce and career development organizations.

“We are continuing to strengthen our national presence as this year’s panelist, keynotes and presenters will demonstrate,” said Denetdale. “To further support our mission, we will be looking to induct two or three new council members from beyond the southwest region to join the advisory council. We’re going to broaden our council to hear from experts and professionals from across Indian Country.”

The CIIC National Conference is the only indigenous construction industry national conference and trade show hosted by a higher education institution in the United States. For more information about CIIC and the annual national conference or to register, visit

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