On April 22, 2016 in the Bell Courtroom, College of Law, University of Oklahoma, tribal leaders, trade law firms, and academic law experts from both Canada and the United States were in attendance, along with interested NGOs such as the Oklahoma Choctaw Luksi Group LLC and the Canadian National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development.
In his opening address, the Chair of the International Inter-tribal Trade and Investment Organization (IITIO), Mr. Wayne Garnons-Williams, expressed the purpose and scope of the inaugural conference:
“to apply the group’s combined international expertise, passion and experience in addressing tangible issues that can assist in the global flow and exchange of Indigenous goods, services and investments…
…to facilitate productive discussion, objective research, and effective education with respect to international inter-tribal trade and investment, through seminars, conferences and scholarly papers…
…and to recommend measures, activities and policy/regulatory/legislative proposals (initiatives) that can further the vision of the organization while respecting its principles.”
During the Conference, leading experts in the fields of law, economics, and history, standing side-by-side with authorities from business and tribal economic development, identified issues, gaps and challenges in key areas such as the Jay Treaty, NAFTA, Canada/USA border crossing for Indigenous trade, and Indigenous International trade.
IITIO’s next step will be to publish the conference proceedings, allowing interested parties access to the expert research presented at this conference. These ideas, proposals and solutions will be furthered at the next conference of IITIO, which will be hosted by the Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia, in six months’ time.