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  NAFOA Announces Financial Leadership Award Winners  
September 17, 2012  
San Diego, CA  
Two distinguished visionaries were recognized in an awards ceremony held on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at the NAFOA Fall Finance & Tribal Economies Conference in San Diego, CA.  Chairman Tex “Red Tipped Arrow” Hall of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation and Tribal Treasurer Chuck James of the Tulalip Tribes were presented the prestigious NAFOA Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Financial Leadership.

The award honors those dedicated Native leaders who have committed to a lifetime of service to tribal communities and for positively impacting economic conditions in Indian Country. The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma honored the two leaders with sacred eagle feathers from the Grey Snow Eagle House, a rehabilitation center and sanctuary for injured eagles. Past awardees have included the late Elouise Cobell, Blackfeet Tribe, the late Chief Ralph W. Sturges, Mohegan Tribe and Chairman Daniel Tucker, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

Chairman Hall was presented the award due to his strong financial leadership not only for the MHA Nation, but for all of Indian Country. Under Chairman Hall’s leadership, the MHA Nation has experienced an unprecedented development of the nation’s oil and gas reserves. Hall also renegotiated the nation’s gaming compact to more favorable terms, expanded the nation’s casino and is leading the efforts to build a clean fuel refinery on the nation, the first in the lower 48 states in 41 years. On a national level, Chairman Hall was one of the founding members of Native American Bank. An advocate of increasing educational opportunities for Native Americans, Chairman Hall serves as Co-Chair of the National Indian Education Task Force. Chairman Hall is also serving on a national commission that will undertake a comprehensive evaluation on the Interior's trust management of nearly $4 billion in Native American trust funds.

Upon receiving the eagle feather, Chairman Hall poignantly stated, “An eagle feather is a gift you receive for helping your people. It is not something you receive for making money. It is an honor that symbolizes vision and integrity and I am humbled to receive this recognition from NAFOA.”

NAFOA Lifetime Achievement award winner, Chuck James was honored for his outstanding financial expertise and service to Indian Country. He has served as Treasurer of the Tulalip Tribes’ Board of Directors for nearly a decade. Additionally, as the Chief Operations Officer for Tulalip Casino and Bingo operations, Treasurer James’ financial savvy and management skills drove casino revenue from $40 million to $168 million in three years. Treasurer James acquired 35 years of senior leadership, engineering, manufacturing sales and training experience in America’s steel industry. Treasurer James’ strategy is to grow the Tulalip Tribes’ financial base through a long-term approach: keeping tribal business vibrant and innovative; finding new revenue and stability, and improving education, health and social services to open the door for tomorrow’s tribal managers and business leaders. NAFOA President Bill Lomax remarked upon Treasurer James’ accomplishments and said, “The bridge between the economic world and Indian Country is a difficult one to cross and many of our key leaders often have difficulty returning home. Treasurer James has successfully made that transition and is using his strong business skills that he developed in the financial sector to serve the Tulalip Tribes.”

“Both of these men have truly demonstrated a lifetime of exercising sound decision making, vision, and leadership” said Lomax. “We are pleased to honor them with the NAFOA Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Financial Leadership.”

The Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) is an independent national non-profit organization providing leadership for the advancement of independent and culturally-vibrant American Indian and Alaska Native communities by: promoting excellence in financial management, advocating sound economic and fiscal policy, developing innovative education initiatives, and providing essential information, resources, and support to meet the challenges of economic growth and change. For more information about the organization, visit

Media Contact:
Dante Desiderio

Photos by Fred Greaves
Chairman Hall was presented the award due to his strong financial leadership not only for the MHA Nation, but for all of Indian Country
Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Chairman Tex Hall receives an award in honor and recognition of his distinguished career during “NAFOA’s 5th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards” ceremony for outstanding financial leadership in Indian country at NAFOA’s Fall Finance & Tribal Economies Conference, Sept. 11 in San Diego. Pictured from left: NAFOA 1st Vice President VaRene Martin, President Bill Lomax and Secretary Dawson Her Many Horses, Chairman Hall, NAFOA 2nd Vice President Cristina Danforth and Victor Roubidoux of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma and the Tribe’s Grey Snow Eagle House for eagle rehabilitation.
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