"As the Chief Executive Officer of AMERIND Risk, the only 100-percent Tribally owned insurance company providing property, liability and tribal workers compensation for Tribes for over 29 years, I appreciate the opportunity to present to you today," Derek Valdo (Acoma Pueblo), AMERIND Risk CEO, addressed the general session, October 15, at the 46th Annual NIEA 2015 Convention and Tradeshow, held October 14-17 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.
Valdo highlighted AMERIND Risk's support for the movement toward Native control of Native education. At a pre-convention course held October 14, the NIEA addressed a new national effort to promote Native education by Natives, honing in on how teachers can utilize Native language, knowledge, values, and practices to strengthen Native identity as well as increase cognitive and non-cognitive growth. NIEA convention participants and educators are devising a national agenda for the coming year that supports increased determination of Native education by Natives. In the end, the hope is to generate a national movement that advances Native control of Native education.
"These are exciting times as transition leadership of our schools and education over to Tribes and is in line with AMERIND's vision of Tribes protecting Tribes!" Valdo said.
Valdo also shared his appreciation for all educators who teach and support Native youth.
"For the teachers in the audience: Thank you for your commitment and investment in our Tribal youth," Valdo said. " I would not be where I am today without teachers and mentors many years ago. For the youth, I encourage you to learn and expand your mind. Tribes and companies like AMERIND Risk need educated, qualified and capable Native American people to work for them."
AMERIND Risk is a longtime supporter of education initiatives throughout Indian country.
"I'm proud that my Native Board of Directors invest in our future with initiatives like NIEA, the National Safety and Wellness Poster Contest, our Regional Scholarship Program, the AMERIND Risk All-West Indian Basketball Tournament and Safety/Wellness grants of $250 for events at client locations. We could not do this without Tribes and Tribal people believing in our ability," Valdo said.