MISSION

 The Native American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois (NACC-IL) exists to:

• provide opportunities for networking and support of American Indian business people in Illinois 
• provide a mentor's environment for those individuals beginning new endeavors and
• provide education and growth opportunities specific to Native Americans

OBJECTIVES

 Our Objectives Are:

1) To create a better understanding and appreciation of the importance of American Indian businesses and a concern for their problems

2) To inspire Native American business and community growth and development by:

a) promoting economic programs designed to strengthen and expand the income potential of American Indian business within the State of Illinois;

b) promoting programs of a civic, social and cultural nature that are designed to increase the functional and aesthetic values of the American Indian community; and

c) discovering and correcting issues that prevent the promotion of business expansion and community growth for Illinois’ American Indians.

3) Establish an economic center to foster the growth and development of the American Indian communities in Illinois as well as other partners that have an interest in the activities of the Chamber.

4) Help Native People achieve successful economic development initiatives while incorporating, strengthening and building upon Tribal Values.

PURPOSE

 Advocate

The goal of NACC-IL is to build resources in education and training for Native owned businesses and to provide our members with the training to cultivate their business skills and to also provide a better understanding of issues facing American Indian business owners.

 Educate

NACC-IL is dedicated to being a voice for Native American owned businesses to state, national and tribal legislators. NACC-IL is also focused on advocating for the growth of economic development with all Native American owned businesses by developing collaborative opportunities to grow successful economic development in Native American communities.

 Connect

NACC-IL is dedicated to providing enhanced business opportunities by promoting its members to state and federal agencies, tribes and corporations. NACC-IL also strives to encourage a mentor relationship between more established business owners and new business owners.

BELIEFS

NACC-IL‘s work is guided by the belief that Native businesses are a foundation for emerging Native economies that will provide employment and educational opportunities and allow our Native communities the opportunity to break the generational cycles of poverty. Today we carry that belief forward and continue to work toward a brighter future with a thriving and connected Native American community that empowers its business leaders with resources, partnerships and services that ensure their success and supports the aspirations of community members.

VALUES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Wisdom is to be shared to help all the people; it is not to be hoarded or used to exploit others.

Love is to honor others and care for them. This includes the value of generosity, as it is loving to help others in need.

Respect is to honor all of creation; it extends to all things animate and not just to people and animals. This honoring is to remember that if, for example, an animal gives its life to become our food and clothing, we must honor its sacrifice. So too must we keep the Earth in a good way, working to find ways that we will not damage it in our dealings.

Bravery is to persevere in the face of adversity and to have the courage to live in accordance with the teachings.

Honesty is to tell the truth. This is often forgotten in business, but it builds strong relationships.

Humility is to remember that we are not greater, nor lesser, than any other. We must be humble toward creation, not wasting the Earth so that there is nothing left for future generations. Humility and respect demand that there be no discrimination against employees, customers, or others.

Truth is to honor who we are as Native peoples, to have integrity. This means doing what we say we will do and acting in accordance with the teachings. It is acknowledged that this is difficult to do and that balancing these responsibilities requires great effort and perseverance.

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American Indian Business: Principles and Practices (pp. 145-146). University of Washington Press. Kindle Edition.

“The Seven Grandfather/Grandmother Teachings come from a sacred story told by Anishinabek elders. This story tells of the first elder, who as a child went on a journey to the spirit world and encountered seven spiritual beings, beings, the Seven Grandfathers or Grandmothers, depending on the telling. Each gives the child one gift that is revealed over the course of the journey to bring the gifts back to the people. The child is on a long journey and arrives home as the first elder. The gifts are [noted above].

These are the human responsibilities toward others and all things created. One is to practice the teachings in all contexts, including contemporary business. One key understanding is that if you do not actively practice a teaching, you are doing its opposite. The opposite is as evil as the teaching is good. It can therefore be helpful to contemplate both how to balance the teachings and how to avoid each teaching’s opposite in discerning your human responsibility in a given business situation.”

BENEFIT THE COLLECTIVE FUTURE FOR ALL OF CREATION

“The corporation owned by the Cayuga Nation of New York uses a seven-generations viewpoint on how the organization endeavors “to find Full Circle Solutions to benefit the collective future of not only the company, its customers and its manufacturers, but for all of Creation”.

This example of Native thought as inclusive and encompassing is further elucidated by “the interconnectedness of all elements of the world” in Ongweoweh Corporation’s social responsibility statement: “Ongweoweh Corp is aware of the interconnectedness of all elements of the world and is committed to sustaining the balance of life forces.

This methodology is applied to Ongweoweh’s business approach”. Recognition of the interconnectedness of all elements is a reminder of the need for love (caring, to treat others well), bravery (to make right actions), and truth (integrity, moving practices beyond our company to others we deal with).”

American Indian Business: Principles and Practices (p. 153). University of Washington Press. Kindle Edition.

SUMMARY

“These teachings help us to meet the standards of our ancestors, our responsibility to all of creation and to future generations. Native businesspeople must actualize the teachings by applying them and living the standards.

By imbuing one’s tribal wisdom throughout an organization, a living code of Native ethics may bind together tradition with business and promote doing business in a way that honors our ancestors. These teachings provide strength and perseverance in our times of trial and tribulations as Native people, and they continue to help us adapt and survive. They are tested, validated practices that continue to support the survival and well-being of our communities as our citizens live and practice them in their lives, businesses, and professions.

There are a myriad of ways in which business behavior in an American Indian context, imbued with American Indian worldviews, could elevate business to new realms. This may be challenging, requiring bravery and perseverance, but holds promise to create a truer path to building a sustainable future.”

American Indian Business: Principles and Practices (pp. 156-157). University of Washington Press. Kindle Edition.