Celebrating National Native American Heritage Month
November is the start of National Native American Month! It is a celebration of the resilience and achievements of the Native community, and an opportunity to recognize leaders who are fighting for the health and well-being of the various people and the deep culture within their communities.
We connected with Holly Patterson, a Business Coach at Change Labs, a Native led nonprofit organization based in Navajo and Hopi Nations, to learn more about how they are creating an ecosystem of indigenous entrepreneurs by bridging gaps to accessibility for local leaders.
Change Labs was established in 2015 as an Incubator program aimed at providing resources for business support, including financial knowledge, to indigenous communities. Their approach is centered on cultural and community relevance, integrating local needs and traditions into entrepreneurship and business development.
Our conversation with Holly highlighted the distinctive challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the Navajo Nation and Hopi land. As an often marginalized community, Native leaders in the entrepreneurial space must navigate numerous obstacles related to diversity and limited resources. It is also a challenge for them to seek a network of individuals that can resonate with those struggles. Consequently, peer-to-peer networking and support within Indigenous entrepreneurial communities is extremely valuable and hard to come by.
Looking for ways you can support the goals of Change Labs and the Native communities’ entrepreneurship initiatives? Here are 5 actions you can take today:
- Support Native businesses by purchasing their authentic products and services
- Connect Native entrepreneurs to various business opportunities, help build their businesses and scale their networks
- Check out Change Labs’ website and learn more about Native Changemakers
- Support local Native nonprofits
- Be willing to listen and understand what help is needed
Join Valley Leadership’s Explore Class 3 to visit Change Labs and get hands-on experience learning about Native American culture and the way their community leaders have leveraged available resources to ensure the wellness and success of their residents!