TG&H On Air – NNAHRA June 2022

For those of our listeners who are not familiar with us about NNAHRA? What does the organization do and serve?

The National Native American Human Resources Association (NNAHRA) is a non-profit organization comprised of human resources professionals and tribal leaders working for a Native American tribe. No matter where you are in your career — intern, seasoned executive, or established tribal leader — NNAHRA will provide you with the knowledge, support, and resources to lead your tribe to success while protecting its sovereignty.

What began in 1996 as a few tribal personnel gatherings to network and learn from one another has grown into a national organization representing over 400 tribes nationwide; a membership in the thousands increases annually.

While highlighting and celebrating innovative programs and leaders nationwide, we create a positive impact among communities that encourages others to strive for greatness and maintain their ascent.

Our mission is to provide timely and trusted information and resources to those serving and leading Tribal government and enterprises in people management, employment policy development, and capacity building across Indian Country.

Our vision is to advocate, research, and educate in the name of Indian Country human resources to protect and honor Tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction through meaningful employment practices.

Historically, the association started as a grass-roots effort with four tribes meeting to network and share personal challenges and solutions. The meetings evolved into conferences, and soon the membership grew into a formal northwest and then national association.

The word on the street is NNAHRA is in its 26th year. Can you tell us about your conference in September?

NNAHRA represents over 380 Native American tribes and representatives from their government and enterprises, which they own. Our members are knowledgeable professionals and maybe current customers of your business or potential ones for you. Our members recently met at our 25th Annual Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. Over 300 human resources professionals came to network and gather information on legal updates, benefits, leadership, technology, and best practices.   Our conference grows in attendance each year, and we expect an even larger group when we meet next year. Our next conference will be held Sept 26-28 in San Antonio, Texas.

Tell us more about the Sam Henny Program and tell us how to nominate a property.

Sam Henny was an early leader in developing programs and policies to mentor tribal members into leadership roles. Her work at the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde motivated many other tribes to introduce similar programs based on her early work and foundation-building skills. While she has passed on, NNAHRA celebrates her life and work by presenting the annual Sam Henny Award. The award recognizes tribes with successful tribal programs that promote mentorship, succession planning, or other areas of leadership.

NNAHRA is currently accepting submissions for the 2021 Sam Henny Award. To be considered for this national recognition, tribes can submit information regarding their program policy and procedures to the selection committee at The Board selects a committee of three to review the submissions and selects a program to be celebrated during the conference. Those who have submitted in the past but were not selected are encouraged to submit again for consideration.

Explain the HR Leader of the Year and how can we nominate an HR Leader of the year.

In 2014, this award has recognized model Human Resources professionals who contribute to their organization by improving their tribal organization’s bottom line, achieving business results, demonstrating leadership or developing innovative programs. Nominees require an established level of accomplishment in four different areas. While the nominee may excel in one or more areas, a demonstrated achievement in all four is required to receive the award.

To nominate a leader for this prestigious award please go to