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Native entrepreneurs and tribal leaders gather

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Trading at the River Conference and Tradeshow slated for April 15 and 16

TIGARD, Ore. - American Indian entrepreneurs, business experts, tribal leaders and others interested in Native economic development will gather April 15 and 16 in Portland for the Pacific Northwest's largest American Indian business conference: ONABEN's sixth annual Trading at the River Conference & Tradeshow.

The tradeshow, co-hosted by the Oregon Native American Chamber, runs concurrently with the conference and is free and open to the public. The public is invited and encouraged to meet and support local Native businesses and other enterprises of interest to the community.

This year's conference theme is ''Honoring Native American Women Business Owners and Leaders.'' This theme is explored by the Trading at the River keynote speakers: community leader Helen Wai, a Native Hawaiian consultant who specializes

in economic and community development, and Monica Simeon and Marina Turningrobe of Sister Sky, a successful bath and body care business.

The two-day conference features workshops and plenary sessions that explore such topics as:

*Trading Up: Ways to Get What You Need Without Spending a Cent

*Finding the Feminine Side of Business in Indian Country

*Food from Source to Table: Old Ways and New Opportunities

*Culture and Conflict in Business Development

*Creating a Comprehensive Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Strategy for Tribes and Native Organizations

The conference will be held at the Red Lion Hotel on the River at Jantzen Beach in Portland from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is available at the door for either day. The tradeshow will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 15 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 16 alongside the conference.

For more information, call (800) 854-8289 or visit

ONABEN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1991 by Oregon tribes to increase the number and success of private businesses owned by American Indians with the vision of a healthy economy for the Pacific Northwest Native community. ONABEN provides counseling, business mentoring, links to tribal efforts, assisted access to financing, markets and a network of experienced teachers and business people.

Its annual Trading at the River Conference & Tradeshow explores small-business development and makes the connections that can assist Native people as they work to support themselves, their families and strengthen their economy.

As the ONABEN network has continued to grow, so has its value to the community. In 2005 Harvard University's Kennedy School recognized ONABEN through its ''Honoring Nations'' Awards program for excellence in service to Native entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest.