Newsroom | Forging a Prosperous Future for American Indians in Arizona

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Creating a pathway for success. That’s the mission of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona (AICCAZ).

Creating a pathway for success. That’s the mission of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona (AICCAZ).

Established in 1995, AICCAZ serves as an economic engine and community resource for American Indian-owned businesses across Arizona. The group recently presented information about the organization, the impact of the pandemic on American Indian small businesses, and how AICCAZ is providing resources and assistance to the MAG Economic Development Committee (EDC).

Board member Ty James Largo said the AICCAZ advocates for the interests and strengthens the earning potential of American Indian-owned businesses statewide. The organization promotes economic development, expands networking, educational and professional development opportunities, and enhances access to community leaders.

Largo, a Navajo tribe member, owns the “Awe Collective,” one of the most influential advertising and public relations firms on the West Coast. Some of the Awe Collective’s clients are Sky Harbor Airport, Uber, and the Phoenician Resort and Spa. The company also was awarded the #1 Place to Work in Arizona by the Phoenix Business Journal.

Largo talked about the wide range of Arizona Indian-owned businesses, including the James Beard award-winning restaurant “The Fry Bread House,” Valley fashion apparel “OXDX,” and social media influencer “Fancy Navajo,” a Native brand ambassador with thousands of followers on multiple media platforms.  

He says these companies are not only successful but promote a strong social message and have broken barriers for the Indian community. Largo explains these businesses drive economic engines for other Native businesses and contribute to collective society.

One area where the AICCAZ has had an impact is on guidelines for reopening restaurants during the pandemic. The organization worked with the Arizona Commerce Authority and Local First Arizona on writing “Reopening for AZ: A Restaurant Guide.” The guide is referenced as a model for the National Restaurant Association and used across the U.S.

Largo also highlighted the Indian community’s impact on the state’s economy, noting more than $819 million in revenue from the gaming industry that goes to state and local governments, and Native farms selling $67 million worth of agricultural products, about two percent of the state’s total agricultural commodities. 

Largo noted there is a heavy emphasis on digital education and collaboration efforts, as many members are in rural communities. One resource, www.rezrising.org supports local economies by connecting Native-owned businesses across the Southwest. He says there are efforts underway to digitally connect more rural communities without having a negative environmental impact.

The AICCAZ represents a long history of bartering and trade, as indigenous communities have been at the forefront of entrepreneurship and creativity for centuries. For more on how you can support and strengthen Native businesses, contact AICCAZ.

Published October 13, 2021

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