Investing for the Future at the Isleta Pueblo, NM Helps Build Native Communities

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Achieving Native Financial Empowerment, a key program of First Nations Development Institute, is an undertaking dedicated to fostering healthy financial habits and lifestyles among Native people of all ages and backgrounds. Each summer First Nations conducts at least one Building Native Communities-themed train-the-trainer workshop to expand a growing base of community trainers who deliver financial empowerment classes to eager audiences across Indian Country.

On July 31st and August 1st, 2019, First Nations conducted Investing for the Future in Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico. Hosted in partnership with Tiwa Lending Services and made possible by generous support from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation, the interactive workshop introduced participants to engaging curriculum that featured activities, techniques, and resources specially designed for teaching basic investing skills to Native American audiences.

“We’re very pleased with the favorable response for Building Native Communities: Investing for the Future,” stated Jackie Francke, Vice President of Programs and Administration at First Nations. “We hosted attendees from a wide range of organizations that included tribal housing, the CDFI industry, and the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians. All these partners share a common need for investing education content that is not only timely but also highly relatable to Native communities.”

Investing for the Future builds upon First Nations’ other Building Native Communities financial empowerment training programs by focusing on challenges a beginning investor in Indian Country might face such as budgeting tribal per capita dividends, managing sales proceeds from the Land Buy Back Program for Tribal Nations, or simply building a retirement nest egg. Sharon Yatsattie, an office automation assistant from the Office of the Special Trustee, an office under the Secretary of the Interior with the fiduciary responsibility to manage Indian funds held in trust by the federal government, attended the workshop to improve her training skills and gain insights on money management.

“It was a wonderful training and it helped me look at my own finances in a new light,” commented Yatsattie. “I’ve taken finance courses before but Investing for the Future enabled me to take ownership of topics such as emergency savings, wealth building, and asset allocation in a more personalized context.”

In addition to Investing for the Future First Nations has created an investor education tool kit in partnership with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The co-branded materials include Fighting Fraud 101 and Investor Alert: New Money Coming into Indian Country to address issues confronting recipients of lump sum and windfall payments. These free brochures and handouts can be downloaded at while hard copies can be requested using the FINRA Foundation online warehouse at

For more information on Investing for the Future and other financial empowerment programs offered by First Nations Development Institute please contact Shawn Spruce, First Nations Programs Consultant at

By Shawn Spruce

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