Led by James L. Jones Jr., a Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe member and former cultural resources director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Tribal Contractors Council (MNTCC) advocates for the best interests of Native workers and Native/Tribally owned businesses in the trades industry. The organization had its kickoff meeting in Bemidji, Minnesota, on May 26, 2021.

The nonprofit was formed with the objective to mentor youth, assist members by providing resources, and connect members with businesses/jobs by coordinating networking opportunities, job fairs, mentorships, job-seeking skill-building seminars, financial education, job and safety training, and transportation services. 

“Based on experience, we know there are challenges and obstacles people face when it comes to employment. We’d like to give them opportunities for a second chance,” said Jones.

At its May launch meeting, members of Native communities and representatives from businesses gathered to share their challenges and success stories, further emphasizing the importance of the concerns that need to be addressed as the MNTCC grows.

The MNTCC Board of Directors recognizes there are obstacles to gainful employment in the communities it serves and hopes to consult with members and businesses on how to best break down barriers. In addition to providing business resources, the MNTCC provides legislative advocacy to gain a voice in all levels of government on behalf of contractors and tribal members in construction and trade industries in Minnesota, which will lead to increased Native-owned business capacity, increased employability, and other community benefits.

The benefits of joining MNTCC include making professional contacts, credibility, employment opportunities, and networking. Membership is open to all businesses, professionals, and economic development organizations. Types of membership include Native-owned SMB, nonprofit organizations, individuals, non-Native-owned SMB, Tribes/Nations/Councils, and Corporations.