21st Annual Gathering is September 5-7

BISMARCK (UTN) – Registration is underway for the 2017 Tribal Leader’s Summit and Trade Show set for September 5-7 at the Bismarck Event Center.

The gathering of tribal leaders and tribal personnel from throughout the region is hosted by the leaders of North Dakota’s five Native Nations: Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation; Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate; Spirit Lake Tribe; Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

The gathering also attracts federal, state and local officials, along with vendors and exhibitors who provide services and goods to tribes and tribal people. The deadline for early-bird registration is July 14. Registration can be made online.


Four keynote speakers, including a newly-signed NBA player, highlight the 21st annual Summit. An inspiring young artist, Dakota Duncan, kicks it off on Tuesday, Sept. 5. Duncan is an enrolled citizen of the Rosebud Tribe in South Dakota. He’s a former foster youth who was adopted and raised by a loving family from the Zuni Nation in Tennessee, where he has become passionate about agriculture and raising his own family.

Independent journalist Mark Trahant keynotes on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Trahant is a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribe and former president of the Native American Journalists Association. He’s currently a faculty member at the University of North Dakota as the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism. His reports and comments on events and trends are carried widely on social and traditional media. He was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Community leader and writer Eileen Briggs is the keynoter on Thursday, Sept. 7. Briggs holds the Bush Foundation’s Native Nation Building Portfolio, designing strategic investments in Minnesota and the Dakotas and the 23 Native Nations in the region. She’s experienced in tribal government, Native non-profits and tribal college systems. For over 10 years she directed Cheyenne River’s Tribal Ventures, focusing on community and economic development.

And Bronson Koenig, a former Wisconsin Badger, who signed last week to play in the Milwaukee Bucks organization in the NBA, rounds-out the keynote presentations with a luncheon talk on Thursday, Sept. 7. Koenig is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and guest presenter during the Youth Leadership Summit. The confident (6'4") point guard tallied the best three-point completion record in Badger history, and now steps up his game to play at the NBA level next season.


The program agenda offers informative sessions about tribal governance, health and wellness, economic development, Native media, tribal gaming, environment, law enforcement, housing, culture and language, education and tourism.

A youth leadership summit runs concurrently, as well as a meeting of tribal transportation planners.


Entertainer and musician Johnny Vincent will provide musical entertainment during the Summit.

Video producer Melinda Janko will introduce her feature documentary “100 Years: One Woman's Fight for Justice.” It tells the story of Indian land and trust reform and features Elouise Cobell and other Native leaders. Janko directed the project that took four years.

The summit’s master of ceremonies is Manny King (Northern Cheyenne), a well-recognized powwow announcer in Indian Country. King is the Student Life and Activities coordinator at Haskell Indian Nations University and was formerly with the Indians Into Medicine Program at the University of North Dakota.

Concluding the Summit is the 2017 induction ceremony of the North Dakota Native American Hall of Honor at the North Dakota Heritage Center. The event is sponsored by the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission and the State Historical Society. Everyone is invited to attend free of charge.


Summit registration includes two luncheons, tradeshow seminars, continuing education units (CEUs), all conference materials, and entry into the 48th Annual United Tribes Technical College Powwow.

Register online at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/21st-annual-tribal-leaders-summit-trade-show-registration-33309550763. Early Bird registration is $400. After July 14 registration is $500.


Vendors are invited to participate in the summit trade show in the Bismarck Event Center, open to all with a current North Dakota Sales and Use Tax Permit. Early registration is recommended: http://summit.uttc.edu/. More info: Brek Maxon 701-221-1359, bmaxon@uttc.edu.


The Tribal Leader’s Summit precedes the following United Tribes Week events in Bismarck: 48th Annual United Tribes Technical College International Powwow, Sept. 8-10; Youth Day at the Powwow, Sept. 8; Legends Softball Tournament, Sept. 8-10; and a benefit golf tournament, Sept. 8. Other events include horseshoe tournament, youth basketball tournament, and a Native hand games tournament.


The United Tribes Summit is hosted by leaders of North Dakota’s tribal nations and coordinated by United Tribes Technical College. It begins Tuesday, September 5 at 8 a.m. with an opening ceremony. The theme is “Communities – Stronger Together.”

More information Bill Gourneau 701-221-1708, wgourneau@uttc.edu.


Dakota Duncan

Mark Trahant

Eileen Briggs

Bronson Koenig

Manny King