Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 26

25

TRIBES AND BUSINESS
OWNERS ARE CREATING
EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES
IN INDIAN COUNTRY
AND BEYOND

Native STEM
ENTERPRISES TO WATCH
F
ostering the indigenous presence in
STEM is the focus of AISES, and part
of that mission has always been
supporting the growth of STEM jobs within
our communities. That was true for the
organization's founders four decades ago,
and it is just as resonant for today's leaders.
"I'm passionate about putting Indians back
in control," says AISES CEO Sarah
EchoHawk. "My vision is to educate our
people to go back and build Indian Country
from the inside out, not the outside in."
Seeing that vision become reality
means creating diverse opportunities in
tribal communities for the growing
number of AISES graduates. To get that
job creation done in today's world, the
smart money is on the very fields they are
specializing in: science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics.
It's no surprise that opportunities in
STEM are growing worldwide, right
along with the current burgeoning
expansion of technology and information. An exciting parallel trend is seeing
STEM opportunities appearing in places
once left behind.
Native tribes and entrepreneurs are
finding innovative ways to use their skills
to benefit their communities by building
businesses. These enterprises - and the
resulting profits - support communities
with more than new jobs. Many successful
enterprises are able to donate funds that
can enhance cultural teachings, provide

26 WINDS OF CHANGE * FALL 2017

scholarships, revive endangered languages,
and even pay for a powwow or two.
Native STEM enterprises of all sorts are
also contributing to the local economies in
intangible ways. As some communities
would agree, "homegrown" businesses are
offering hope to individuals who once might

More than ever,
Native enterprises
are advertising
good jobs in Indian
Country.
have seen themselves as left behind, "off the
grid." More than ever, Native enterprises are
advertising good jobs in Indian Country.
In our first annual roster of 25 Native
STEM Enterprises to Watch, you'll see a
variety of fields represented, including
green energy, petroleum, forestry services,
construction, water and wildlife management, and gaming-funded charitable
foundations.
Gaming is still the field that most people
would probably associate with the term
"tribal business." And this technology-rich
enterprise is indisputably important to
many communities, grossing more than $30
billion nationwide. Chief Wilma Mankiller

encouraged the Cherokee Nation, for one, to
implement gaming to shore up the tribe's
economy, and Oklahoma tribes have shared
over $1.1 billion in revenue with the state
since 2006. Gaming profits have enhanced
cultural teachings and education, funded
health care facilities, and provided jobs for
thousands inside and outside the community. Many other tribes have a similar success
story to tell about their own gaming ventures.
But when it comes to STEM opportunities in Indian Country, gambling is far from
the only game in town. Here we've profiled
several enterprises that demonstrate
potential opportunities in a range of
endeavors. And that progress is ongoing.
New businesses are being launched in fields
that are filling needs and solving problems
in our communities and beyond.
"The people coming out of STEM are
the ones who will be working on these
problems," says EchoHawk. "Scientists are
the people who will be poised to have an
impact and help come up with solutions.
People who have the indigenous knowledge
and perspective - and who can bring it
into the conversations about science - will
be at the forefront of the change."
Today's AISES student members are well
positioned to benefit from the positive
changes resulting from burgeoning Native
businesses. They have a future that's the
brightest it's ever been in terms of career
choices that directly benefit our communities.
- Vincent Schilling
aises.org


http://www.aises.org

Winds of Change - Fall 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Winds of Change - Fall 2017

Contents
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Intro
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover1
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover2
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Contents
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 2
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 3
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Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover3
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover4
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