Dennis Dyer & Ned Weizenegger
ONATC & MTTC
How did the ONATC get started?
It started informally, as most things do, with a few ideas and a handful of people. We had some conversation about recent Federal and State agencies that came to us to have “dialogue” but instead presented pre-planned answers with little opportunity for open discussion. We got together to talk about a refined list of questions to present for this particular meeting on issues that were affecting us all and thought, why aren’t we doing this for other initiatives? We had a nucleus of people to share information with, talk about ideas, become a unified voice and with positive results we decided to formalize our group in 2014. We are now a 501c3 with officers, a mission statement, quarterly reports and regularly scheduled meetings. We have 16 participating tribes and this strength in numbers has allowed us to build stronger communities individually as well as collectively.
What are some more benefits member tribes see being a part of the ONATC?
As a collaborative group we are able to communicate and implement positive change whether it is at the Tribal, State or Federal level. We discuss and create action plans to build opportunities as well as identify and address anything that could potentially affect our sovereignty. Guest speakers regularly attend our meetings and present timely information on current events and key topics. We also are taking this group beyond the borders of technology and breaking into economic development and working internally with our department heads and leadership on building stronger communities through technology. We need to invest in sustainable industries so our tribes can invest in our youth who might not know it yet but are preparing to become our next leaders. The ONATC will have their quarterly meeting onsite at TribalNet this fall and will also meet with other tribal organizations to help them consider forming their own regional IT councils. They had similar dialogue with several tribes at the 2014 TribalNet conference, which leads us to our next Q&A with MTTC.
How did the MTTC get started?
All it took was a few MN tribes connecting at the 2014 TribalNet conference. We all attended the session led by the ONATC talking about their regional IT group and met informally afterwards about how we may be able to engage with one another in a similar setup. We had a few individuals from different tribes that saw it as a solid opportunity to collaborate, so we took action and moved on it. Our first meeting was January 2015, we were amazed at the turnout and immediate interest.
What does a typical MTTC meeting look like?
We are just getting started with only three meetings under our belt and our fourth quarter meeting set for TribalNet this year. Our goal is to have each quarterly meeting be a gathering at a different location where we can connect about issues we are all facing, discuss solutions to challenges, find out more about each other’s strengths and how we can support each other in the industry. We have had a speaker at each of the meetings and outside of the meetings we connect on topics like; PCI Compliance, training for users, cloud and more. It’s a diverse group; large and small tribes, some are IT leaders in gaming, some health, some government- having all of these areas together and learning from each other is extremely beneficial for all of us involved. We have nine tribes participating from multiple states in the Midwest and are looking forward to what’s ahead for this group. When we asked both representatives what’s next? The answer was clear- keep growing, keep sharing resources and continue towards taking action to make positive changes. We would like to congratulate both of these organizations for their success and growth and encourage you to connect with them at TribalNet this fall- their association meeting onsite will be OPEN- they welcome you to join them!