In honor of our Nation’s first people, I am going to be spotlighting twenty-five Native influencers and businesses that deserve our support.
If you’re in need of new people to follow or just want to see something new on your timeline, this list will steer you in the right direction.
1. Deb Haaland
On Tuesday, November 6th, New Mexico elected Deb Haaland as one of our countries’ first Native congresswomen. Deb is a member of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe and has been working in politics in New Mexico for twenty years. One of Ms. Haaland’s goals for her position is to address climate change.
“I want to work on climate change. I want to fight climate change, I want to move New Mexico into a global renewable energy leader. We need a renewable energy revolution in this country, right? We have, what, 22 years before climate change is irreversible? But we’re not going to wait that long, we have to start working on it right now.”
After learning more about Deb Haaland, it’s clear our new congresswoman has both the experience and the vision to lead our nation towards a stronger future. Read more of Ms. Haaland’s interview here.
2. Sharice Davids
Sharice David’s is our other first Native American woman to serve in congress. She’s the child of a single mother who was an army vet, an ex-MMA fighter, and a Cornell educated lawyer. With such a dynamic background, Sharice represents the sort of change we’ve needed to see politics for a while. She can relate to many facets of the American experience and therefore, can push for a positive change on multiple fronts.
“We have the opportunity to reset expectations about what people think when they think of Kansas,” Davids said during her victory speech before hundreds of supporters at the Embassy Suites in Olathe. “We know there are so many of us who welcome everyone, who see everyone and who know that everyone should have the opportunity to succeed.”
You can read more about Sharice here.
3. Juliana Brown Eyes
Juliana Brown Eyes is a bass player for Scatter Their Own, an Indigenous band started with her husband. Their sound raw sound and their message is powerful. But music is just one of Juliana’s many talents. In addition to being a musician, she is also a photographer and beauty influencer. Juliana uses her influence and creativity to inspire Native youth demonstrating a love for her heritage in her work.
4. Martin Sensmeier
Martin is of Tlinget, Koyukon-Athabascan descent. As an actor, model, and activist, Martin is a triple threat in his community. He was a star in hit movie The Magnificent Seven and has a recurring role on the HBO series Westworld. Martin’s passion for his community is demonstrated in his activism and involvement. He has been a key speaker in many Indigenous events and engagements such as the Miss Indian Nations Pageant, the Indian Affairs Committee, and works closely with The Boys and Girls Club.
5. Bethany Yellowtail
Bethany is an LA based fashion designer. Her designs are reflective of her Native heritage. She is of Cheyenne and Crow heritage. She is the CEO of B. Yellowtail, an Indigenous inspired clothing line that offers everything from apparel and accessories to cosmetics.
An Indigenous rapper whose activism shines through his music. He was born in Canada as Jeremiah Manitopyes and got his start freestyling in a Jamaican nightclub. From there, music became his passion. He has worked with popular Native rap group, War Party, won several awards and now uses his influence to inspire Indigenous youth. Drezus continues to use his voice and influence to spread inspiration.
6. Frank Waln
Frank is a Sicangu Lakota rapper. Frank grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation and began listening to hip-hop music as a teen. Originally, Frank intended to become a doctor, attending Creighton University. After two years, Frank realized that music was his true calling and dropped out of his pre-med program to pursue it. One audio design degree and three Native American Music Awards later, it appears Frank made the right decision for himself and his community. Frank has involved himself in the Dream Warriors scholarship, which aims to provide assistance to Native Americans who want to study music.
7. Joe Williams
Joe Williams is an aboriginal Australian man and former sports star. Joe has used his painful experience of surviving a suicide attempt to help others struggling with depression. He now runs workshops through his charity The Enemy Within to help and inspire young Indigenous people. He has also published a book, talking about his experience called: Transformation; Turning Tragedy To Triumph. Joe William’s resilience and strength makes him a true inspiration to his community.
8. Native Max Magazine
Founded by Kelly Holmes in 2012, this bi-monthly magazine is dedicated to spotlighting Indigenous fashion, lifestyle, and culture. Native Max Mag has used their influence to give exposure to up and coming entrepreneur’s brand and businesses.
9. Indigenous Cosmetics
Indigenous Cosmetics is a Sicangu Lakota/Chippewa Cree cosmetics that offer hand blended beauty products with rich, vibrant colors that are complimentary to Indigenous skin tones.
11. Sister Sky
Sister Sky creates products with the Native traditions of herbal treatments in mind. They infuse their products with organic oils and herbs to create a gentle final product.
12. A Tribe Called Geek
A Tribe Called Geek was specifically created with the geeks and nerds of the Native community in mind. The media platform started out as a podcast with the mission to give exposure and a platform for Native nerds and geeks. In addition to creating a safe space for “Indige-nerds” they also celebrate Indigenous people in STEM and creative fields.
13. Native Realties
A Native run online comic book shop whose main characters are Indigenous freedom fighters, astronauts, and super heroes.
14. Native Cakes
This Native owned bakery provides cakes for every occasion including weddings, baby showers, parties and more.
15. Tanka Bar
This Lakota owned companies sells minimally processed produce with sustainability and the support of the Native farmer in mind.
16. Urban Native Era
A Native youth owned clothing brand offering fresh designs that embody pride in the Indigenous heritage.
This beautiful jewelry company creates elegant Navajo beaded jewelry witha Southwest flair.
18. Saba Wear
Saba Wear offers hip and witty Indigenous street wear as well as art pieces.
19. Lakota Solar Enterprises
Created by Henry Red Cloud, Lakota Solar Enterprises is a one-hundred percent Indigenous owned and operated renewable energy company. Based out of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, this company is focused on reducing our carbon footprint by building solar heating systems in tribal communities. The company also creates much needed jobs for Indigenous communities.
20. Native Youth Olympics
Started in 1972 the Native Youth Olympics aims to preserve the traditional games of Alaskan Native’s of past generations. A few of the games include: the Eskimo Stick Pull, the One Foot Hop, and the High Kick. All Alaskan students are welcome to participate regardless of race.
21. Adopt An Elder Native Program
This program aims to support elders on the Dine’ (Navajo) Reservation by providing them with food, medicine, clothing, and fabric.
22. The Native American Rights Fund
The NARF is the oldest non-profit law firm. Since 1971, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) has provided legal assistance to Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals.
23. American Indian College Fund
The American Indian College Fund’s aim is to provide scholarship to Native students. They provide 6,000 schoalrships a year to American Indian students.
24. National Indian Child Care Association
Since 1993 the National Indian Child Care Association has provided information, support, coordination, and advocacy for Tribal child care.
25. Association of American Indian Affairs
The Association was formed in 1922 and is the oldest non-profit Native organization dedicated to protecting and preserving Indigenous culture. They have played a part in drafting several laws including the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the Tribal Governmental Tax Status Act.