The Iwi Leaders Forum hopes forming relations with American Indians will be a step towards developing a global indigenous economy.
Two of its members - Tukoroirangi Morgan of Waikato Tainui and Mark Solomon of Ngai Tahu - were invited to speak at the National Congress of American Indians annual conference at Portland, Oregon last week.
The congress aims to retain unity amongst the first people, protecting their treaty rights as well as monitoring state policy.
Mr Morgan told delegates about his work on the Waikato River Treaty Settlement and Waikato-Tainui's co-governance of the water.
But he says a priority is to build a good relationship with American Indians which may result in economic trade opportunities.