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U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz to speak at 11th annual Business Fest

By Staff | Jul 6, 2017


KAHULUI – Brian Schatz, senior senator from the State of Hawaii, will be the keynote speaker at the 11th annual Business Fest produced by the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce.

He will address this year’s theme, “Ka ‘Ikena ‘Oiwi: Native Wisdom.” He will be joined by Native American speaker Ben Sherman, chairman of the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance; Native Alaskan speaker Celeste Ferguson, executive director of the American Indian and Alaska Native Tourism Association; and Native Hawaiian speaker Ramsay Taum, founder of Life Enhancement Institute of the Pacific.

Hawaii State Sen. Brickwood Galuteria will offer opening remarks about the potential for indigenous tourism programs to increase Native Hawaiian well-being.

The day-long conference will be held at King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waikapu on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017.

The annual MNHCoC Biz Fest has become Maui’s largest networking event for those who guide and manage their businesses with Hawaiian cultural values.

Sen. Schatz and other speakers will share their thoughts, experience and expertise in the indigenous tourism sector. This year’s conference theme was selected by MNHCoC members.

The Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act (NATIVE Act), bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Schatz (D-Hawaii) and John Thune (R-S.D.), enacted last September, enhances and integrates native tourism, empowers native communities and expands the nation’s unique cultural tourism opportunities.

“We are quite honored that Senator Schatz has agreed to be our keynote speaker this year,” said MNHCoC President Teri Freitas Gorman.

“Indigenous tourism programs in New Zealand, Canada and Australia have helped to differentiate those destinations while providing a way for First Nations people to generate economic and community benefits while perpetuating their language and traditional cultural practices. We are so proud that our senior senator not only understood this but has offered positive, proactive legislation through the NATIVE Act.”

Sen. Schatz has dedicated his career to public service as a strong advocate for Hawaii’s middle-class families, a clean energy economy, seniors, veterans and Native Hawaiians.

He serves on four Senate Committees: Appropriations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; and Indian Affairs. Schatz also serves as chief deputy whip, a leadership position that gives him a greater role in shaping policy and communications for Senate Democrats.

Sponsorship opportunities for the 11th annual Business Fest are available. For information and applications to participate in the Vendor Exhibits, visit www.mnhcoc.org. Conference registration will open in August. For more information, visit www.mnhcoc.org.