The Native Financial Education Coalition (NFEC) was founded in 2000 as a result of a Department of Treasury initiative on financial literacy. The original Native working group evolved into NFEC and expanded their members and services, supported until 2009 by First Nations Oweesta Corporation (Oweesta). After a period of dormancy, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Oweesta, and many interested partners sought to revive NFEC in mid-2012. Efforts focused initially on consumer financial protection and are now moving forward with a focus on April National Financial Literacy Month.
As a result of a February 2012 survey and a series of NFEC meetings, partners have defined goals to include:
- Bringing partners together
- Research and best/promising practices
- Awareness campaigns at all levels
- Community wellbeing
Native community development financial institutions directly provide Native American communities the tools and capital support required for real and sustainable job creation, small business development, commercial real estate development, and affordable housing/home ownership, while also offering basic banking services and financial literacy training to “underbanked” Native American communities who have been historically targeted by predatory lending practices.
NCAI is organized as a representative congress of American Indians and Alaska Natives that serves to develop consensus on national priority issues that impact tribal sovereignty. American Indian and Alaska Native governments pass resolutions to become members of NCAI, selecting official delegates to the NCAI Executive Council, Mid-Year Conference, and Annual Convention. During these events, delegates consider issues of pressing concern in accordance with their governments’ policies, goals, and needs. NCAI members vote on and pass resolutions to determine NCAI’s position on a broad range of issues.