MISSION: We are dedicated to working with all members of the community to advance the educational and economic opportunities for Native Americans in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
|The vision for the Oregon Native American Chamber of Commerce (ONACC) was first explored by Mitch Conley, an employee of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde (CTGR), In 1994. Mitch worked with tribal leader Clyde Stryker to explore the need and opportunities for a Native Chamber in Oregon. Mitch ended up leaving CTGR before his vision became a reality. Clyde Stryker, in partnership with fellow CTGR citizen Shelly Hansen, organized the first ONAC meeting, held at Willamette University in Salem.
The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde fiscally supported ONACC during this time, as The Chamber slowly expanded to 10 members in 1994. Clyde Stryker was ONAC’s first Board President. John Witty served as the Vice President and Elaine Moore was the Board Treasurer.
In November 1995, ONACC filed as a non-profit organization. John Levitt from Pacific One Bank assisted with the development of ONAC’s by-laws, and on December 2008 “Oregon Native American Chamber of Commerce”(ONACC) applied for and gained status as a 501(c)3. The ONACC named was changed to the “Oregon Native American Chamber”(ONAC) to abide by 501c3 law requirements.
In the years since the inception of ONAC, the organization has increased equitable economic opportunity for diverse Native Americans across Oregon and SW Washington. ONAC provides culturally-authentic programs for Native American entrepreneurs, business owners, and youth. With over 270 members in 2021, ONAC also creates intersectional connections to build the capacity of non-Native agencies to better understand and address the complex economic, social, and educational hurdles faced by Native Americans.
Major programs include the ONE Program, which offers cogent and actionable pathways to business development as taught by Native American entrepreneurs themselves via an eight-module training; the StartUpOregon platform which provides a growing library of culturally-specific business training content all unified on a single site, fostering inclusion, access and collaboration; scholarships for college-bound Native American students; and opportunities (annual gathering, many networking events) to gather and celebrate the rich culture and heritage of Oregon’s Native American communities. These events also strengthen relationships with non-Native allies— especially to increase opportunities for wealth creation and ownership across the state.