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Here’s our semi-regular round-up of people on the move in Indian Country, including some of the new hires at tribal enterprises and Native-serving nonprofits.  

If you have news of new hires or special recognition, please share them with [email protected].  

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Sovereign Equity Fund appointed Courtney Chavis as its first executive director. Chavis, a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, brings more than a decade of experience in philanthropy, community development, and grant management to her new role. Previously, she served as grants manager at the National Congress of American Indians. Chavis holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and a certificate in grants management. 

Nativa Cannabis hired Gavin Mercado as general manager of its Seneca Nation-owned adult-use cannabis dispensary. An enrolled member of the Seneca Nation, Mercado brings extensive operational experience to his role, having previously served as operations manager for a group of retail stores on Seneca Nation Territory. His background includes work in the cannabis, casino gaming, personal care, and healthcare markets. 

Bree R. Black Horse has joined the United States Attorney's Office as an Assistant United States Attorney, specializing in cases involving Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) within the Northwest Region. An enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Black Horse brings a wealth of experience in Tribal law and advocacy. Previously, she worked in the Native American practice group at Kilpatrick Townsend law firm, advising Tribal governments on federal, state, and tribal law matters. 

Native American Industrial Solutions LLC, a Native- and veteran-owned federal contracting firm, hired Jennifer Chapman as its new director of business development and customer management. Chapman worked for nearly 23 years in the US Navy as an information professional officer. She holds a master’s degree in information systems management and a certificate in cybersecurity. 


Sharon Hamer, president of Akiak Technology LLC, was honored with the Native Woman Business Owner of the Year award at the 38th Annual National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Las Vegas, NV. Hamer, an enrolled member of the Akiak Native Community, received recognition for her outstanding contributions to economic parity and community betterment. With more than 30 years of federal service, Hamer's expertise in federal IT contracting propelled the success of Akiak Technology, providing Information Technology management services to federal, state, tribal governments, and commercial customers. Co-founding Akiak Holdings, LLC and Akiak Technology, LLC in 2019, Hamer aimed to foster economic development and financial sovereignty for her native village of Akiak. Hamer's strategic vision and leadership facilitated remarkable revenue growth, particularly through Akiak Technology's participation in Tribal 8(a) HUBZone and SBA 8(a) Mentor Protege Joint Venture programs. Together, Akiak Technology and Akiak NS, LLC secured $127M in federal contracts in 2023, marking significant milestones in advancing economic independence and self-sufficiency for Tribal communities.


Marshall Pierite, chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, has been appointed as the vice-chairman of the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee (IAC) under the U.S. Federal Communications Committee (FCC). The IAC advises the FCC on telecommunications issues affecting local, county, state, and Tribal governments. Pierite, an advocate for Tribal communities, brings extensive experience in Tribal governance and broadband connectivity initiatives to his new role. As vice-chairman, he will collaborate with elected officials from various levels of government to address broadband, connectivity, and telecommunication challenges facing Native American and rural communities. The FCC Chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, emphasized the Committee's importance in providing valuable perspectives on connecting the American people. Pierite's leadership on the IAC underscores his commitment to advancing Tribal interests and improving telecommunication infrastructure in underserved areas.

The Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis welcomes five new members to its Leadership Council, including Stephanie Russo Carroll of the University of Arizona; Amber Schulz-Oliver, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians; Tralynna Sherrill Scott, Cherokee Nation Businesses; Reggie Wassana, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes; and Larry Wright Jr. of the National Congress of American Indians. CICD focuses on economic development in Indian Country, utilizing research to support Native nations and Indigenous communities. These appointments enhance the council's ability to provide vital perspectives and experiences. Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, emphasizes the importance of these appointments in shaping economic futures for Indian Country. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis serves the Ninth Federal Reserve District, contributing to national monetary policy and providing banking services.