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NAIHC Names New Leader: Sami Jo Difuntorum

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The National American Indian Housing Council welcomes a new leader. 

Sami Jo Difuntorum, a member of the Shasta Nation of California, was elected chair on June 5 at NAIHC's 40th annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri, which drew more than 400 attendees representing Tribes from all over the United States.

She serves as executive director of the Siletz Tribal Housing Department in Oregon and as vice chair for the Northwest Indian Housing Association.

Difuntorum, who will serve a two-year term, succeeds Cheryl Causley, a member of the Bay Mills Indian Community of Michigan and executive director of Bay Mills Indian Community Housing Authority located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Chairwoman Causley served on the NAIHC Board of Directors since 1998 and served two terms as chair. 

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AMERIND Risk's board of directors and staff congratulated Chairwoman Difuntorum at the convention, and thanked Chairwoman Cheryl Causley for her strong leadership and many years of dedication to NAIHC.

Derek Valdo, AMERIND Risk CEO, announced during the June 5 business meeting that AMERIND Risk and NAIHC would be combining their annual conferences for 2015. The 2015 AMERIND Risk | NAIHC Annual Conference & Trade Fair will be hosted at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona on May 12-14, 2015. This annual educational forum will provide professional development, training and networking opportunities for tribal leaders and business professionals in Indian country. The conference provides an ideal forum to stimulate ideas, collaborate and continue to work together for our common cause: "Tribes Protecting Tribes."

RELATED: AMERIND Risk Celebrates 17th Anniversary of Support for NAIHC With $150,000 Contribution

AMERIND Risk was founded almost 30 years ago by more than 400 Tribes. They pooled their resources to create affordable and sustainable insurance products and services for Indian country—to keep money circulating in Indian country. AMERIND Risk provides property, liability and workers’ compensation insurance for tribes, tribal governments, businesses and individual property coverage.

Highlights of the NAIHC's 40th annual conference included a service project to help refurbish the Kansas City Indian Center, a welcoming address from Kickapoo of Kansas Tribal Chairman Steve Cadue, plus congressional messages from members of Congress and a presentation from the Crow Nation addressing Supportive Housing for Veterans. The National American Indian Housing Council, NAIHC was founded in 1974 as a 501(c)(3) corporation. NAIHC is the only national organization representing housing interests of Native people who reside in Indian communities, Alaska Native Villages, and on Native Hawaiian Home Lands.