Cubano e Indio Americano: Sovereignty in Action

Published on Jul 18, 2016

WASHINGTON DC | On Monday, July 18, through Thursday, July 21, 2016, tribal government leaders from four U.S. Indian tribes and nations will travel to Havana, Cuba alongside the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) and National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) to meet with Cuban government officials.

Cubano e Indio Americano: Sovereignty in Action is the first diplomatic exchange of its kind with the mission to create engaging and empowering dialogue between leaders of Cuban and U.S. Tribal Governments to build collaborative partnerships through a mutual exchange of culture and economic understanding.

Cubano e Indio Americano: Sovereignty in Action is an incredible opportunity for not only Indian Country, but also for Cuba,” said NAFOA President & Oneida Nation Chairwoman Cristina Danforth. “We’ve found that there are several socio-economic, cultural, and historical parallels to our communities, and we’re looking forward to this mutual exchange with our nations. This is an exciting time for tribal sovereignty and NAFOA is humbled to be a part of this next step.”

Tribal leaders from NAFOA and NCAI (Washington DC), Colusa Indian Community (California), Oneida Nation (Wisconsin), Seneca Nation of Indians (New York), and the Swinomish Tribal Indian Community (Washington), will be discussing four theme areas including Economics, Finance, and Commerce; Culture & Diplomacy; Agriculture & Food Sovereignty; and Life Science Research & Medical Advancements with Cuban Government Ministries and Offices.

“Relationships built through cultural understanding empowers people and nations to exchange quality information from a place of collaboration and cooperation,” said NCAI President & Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Chairman Brian Cladoosby. “Nation-to-Nation relationship building opens learning opportunities to create stronger economies, advancements in medicine, and more.”

The exchange is being facilitated directly with the Cuban Government and the Cuban Embassy. In Havana, tribal leaders are scheduled to meet with a number of officials including the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Fisheries, and the Ministry of Agriculture. 

In addition to the diplomatic meetings there is also a focus on cultural exchange that will include a traditional performance by a Seneca Nation dance group. There will also be an opportunity to learn about the Cuban health care system with a tour of the Cuban Center for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering and the Latin American School of Medicine. 

NAFOA will be capturing daily trip updates through its website at

Check back for photos and content updates during the trip. 

For all media inquiries contact Ricki McCarroll at or via phone at 202-503-9169.


Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA)

Through its work in growing tribal economies and strengthening tribal finance NAFOA supports the advancement of independent and culturally vibrant American Indian and Alaska Native communities. NAFOA launched over three decades ago as the Native American Finance Officers Association to highlight the role of tribal finance in fostering economic opportunities. Since that time, NAFOA has grown along with tribal economies. Today NAFOA advocates sound economic and fiscal policy, develops innovative training programs in financial management, builds the financial and economic skills of the next generation, and convenes tribal leadership, experienced professionals, and economic partners to meet the challenges of economic growth and change.

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit


Press Contact:

Ricki McCarroll



Press Release available for download at:

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