In the last few weeks, I’ve spent more time than anyone would consider healthy doomscrolling news of atrocities, violence, and lack of healthy discourse. It’s understandably hard to find focus and motivation—even to continue otherwise exciting work advancing an inclusive economy.
However, looking over notes from a WIDE variety of conferences in October re-inspired me. Native Women Lead & The Future Is Indigenous Women’s inaugural Growth Capital Summit in particular hit the head, heart, and hands. Many attendees were just one or two generations removed from—that is, children or grandchildren of—survivors of Indian boarding schools in the U.S. or residential schools in Canada. Many who witnessed trauma are using it as a motivator to craft a world of abundance and tenderness.
And damn if that’s not the kind of energy we need to overcome these troubling times and broken systems.
That’s one of many reasons we’re honored to deepen our work supporting Native communities and leaders like Keoni Lee, CEO of Hawaiʻi Investment Ready (two great interviews with him here and here framing the context for our partner ʻĀina Aloha Economy Fund). We’re leaning into radical imagination: ideating how to help route the flood of once-in-a-generation federal resources so that Indigenous and overlooked communities can flourish for years to come, as Vice President Harris announced with the Initiative for Inclusive Entrepreneurship last month.
I’m thrilled to welcome Ted Piccolo as our first-ever director of Indigenous futures to expand this work. He brings tremendous lived, learned, and labored experience with Native community economic development. Ted is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Cayuse/Wenatchi/Nez Perce). He was the founding executive director of the Northwest Native Development Fund and continues to serve on the boards of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation and Opportunity Finance Network.
Thanksgiving is one of the few times that many Americans think about Native people, albeit often repeating a falsely rosy holiday origin story and using only past tense verbs. I encourage everyone to celebrate by cooking seasonal foods native to this land, recognizing Indigenous leaders in the present and future tense, and taking a beat to find the light in the dark.
An inclusive economy starts with building strong, authentic relationships with each other—our partners and our teammates. To that end, we recently shared about our new employee fund, called the Vested Vicuña Vehicle, as a way for our team to share in the success of the portfolio we believe in.
Stay well and take care of one another,
Co-founder & Chief Community Officer
P.S. If you want to kickstart a rad journey into Indigenous futures, resources we like include:
- Indigenizing Catalytic Capital (report)
- Indigenomics: Taking A Seat at the Economics Table by Carole Anne Hilton (or see this 8-minute video)
- Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World by Tyson Yunkaporta