On Nov. 1, 2011, Burns & McDonnell and UMB Financial Corporation of Kansas City hosted a celebration to recognize Native American Indian Month and bring awareness to the National Native American Chamber of Commerce. This event included a proclamation from the mayor’s office, a silent auction fund raiser, an appetizer reception and awards presentation.
The NNACC is an organization comprising Native American and non-Native American professionals dedicated to increasing the well being of Native American communities by advocating for increased investment in businesses, advancing job opportunities, supporting education and developing entrepreneurial skills and management expertise.
The current fund-raising focus for the NNACC is the Milton Moore School Project. The NNACC proposes to re-model and repurpose the Milton Moore School to house three major programs to enhance business opportunities for Native Americans. These programs include a business incubator for small businesses, job training, and transitional housing for participants. The Milton Moore School Project would allow the NNACC to expand its reach and serve more clients by establishing a permanent central facility.
The celebration began with a presentation of ceremonial drumming and dancing arranged by NNACC cultural liaison Laverne Haag. The dancers and musicians included Tiayrra Curtis, Aspen Bell, Charley Lewis, Michelle Byington, Isaih Stewart, Jace Roberts, Tokeya Richardson, Adrian Primeaux, Berwyn Moses and Mikey Sioux.
The evening’s award ceremony honored individuals and corporations for their commitment to the NNACC.
• The 2011 Partnership Award was presented to UMB Financial Corporation and accepted by Larry Smith, executive vice president of human resources.
• The 2011 Outstanding Volunteer Award went to Michelle Word, a small business supplier and diversity procurement advocate.
• The 2011 Community Leader Award winner was Greg Graves, Chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell.
The National Native American Chamber of Commerce can be reached at (816) 392-7611 or at www.nnacc.org.