Member Education Sessions: Indigenous Data Sovereignty & Beyond
Data makes the world go round! In the philanthropic sector, data drives where money is placed. However, for Indigenous peoples and communities, data is a complicated and nuanced topic. From erasure to mismanagement to data being used as a weapon, there are countless reasons why leaders in the sector are advocating for Indigenous Data Sovereignty through ethical data practices, cyber sovereignty, and more. Our moderator, Stephine “Steph” Poston, M.A. (Pueblo of Sandia), and Indigenous changemakers, Carly Bad Heart Bull (Dakota/Muscogee), Mahrinah Shije (Tewa/T’siyameh), and Kimball Sekaquaptewa (Hopi) discuss how philanthropy can work differently to not only better support the exercising of Indigenous Data Sovereignty, but also uplift the vital infrastructure and policy reform needed for sustainable practices.
ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS: CARLY BAD HEART BULL (Dakota/Muscogee) (she/her) Executive Director, Native Ways Federation Carly Bad Heart Bull (Bdewakantunwan Dakota/Muskogee Creek and a citizen of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in South Dakota) is the Executive Director of the Native Ways Federation (NWF), a national nonprofit founded by seven of the most reputable Native-led nonprofits in the country. NWF’s mission is to activate and expand informed giving to nonprofits in Indian country through donor education and advocacy. She came to NWF from the Bush Foundation, where she served as the Native Nations Activities Manager since 2014. Her service area encompassed Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Tribal nations within the region. Carly has a background in law and was previously an Assistant County Attorney for Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (Minnesota) in its child protection division. She has also taught the Dakota language to early childhood students in South Minneapolis. She currently serves as vice chairwoman of the board of local nonprofit and Indigenous farm, Dream of Wild Health, and is also on the board of Native Americans in Philanthropy, a national organization with a mission to promote equitable and effective philanthropy in Native communities. In 2020, Carly was named a Minnesota Attorney of the Year, for her instrumental work on reclaiming the Dakota name of Minneapolis’ largest lake (formerly Lake Calhoun) to Bde Maka Ska. In 2019, she was selected by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as a Community Leadership Network Fellow, a program for leaders across the country working to create transformational change toward a more equitable society for all. Carly holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota Law School, a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, and an Associate of Arts degree from Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Carly lives in Bdeota Otunwe (Minneapolis, or City of Many Lakes) with her young son Quill.
MAHRINAH SHIJE (Tewa/T’siyameh) (she/her) Founding General Partner, Endemic Venture Capital Mahrinah Shije is Founding General Partner of Endemic Venture Capital, venture building Indigenous-led Climate Tech and the Future of Tribal Gaming. Ms. Shije began her career as an Investment Analyst with UBS and has spent two decades in high tech startups with a specialization in Web3 technologies, cybersecurity and digital assets. She holds an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School and a BA/MS in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Certificate in Venture Capital from Berkeley Law School. Additionally, Ms. Shije is a Partner at Zia Impact, through which she works with clients on impact strategy and Tribal infrastructure development, and CEO and Board Chair of Pueblo Development Commission, an NGO in United Nations consultative status where she is a member of the Indigenous Peoples’ Major Working Group, the UN Counterterrorism Executive Directorate (UNCTED) and several Blockchain Commissions. Additionally, she served as an appointed member of the US Greenbuilding Council (having also previously developed over $1B in private sector real estate with Willmark Communities and Willmark Energy), All Pueblo Council of Governors' Legislative Committee from 2019-2022, a Digital Assets Expert Speaker for the Indian Gaming Association 2021-Present and a Special Advisor to National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp at the World Economic Forum and in International Development (2023-Present). She is Tewa and Sefardi Jewish and married into the Pueblo of Zia. Ms. Shije is a 2023 Fellow at Leadership New Mexico (CORE Graduate), VC Lab in Palo Alto, Climate Vine Global Network and the Nahum Goldmann International Fellowship, Treasurer of Panim Hadashot in New Mexico and a steering committee member with Israel Policy Forum with many previous appointments and fellowships.
KIMBALL SEKAQUAPTEWA (Hopi) (she/her) Chief Technology Director and Tribal Broadband Connectivity Project Director, Santa Fe Indian School Kimball Sekaquaptewa is the Chief Technology Director and Tribal Broadband Connectivity Project Director at the Santa Fe Indian School. Since 2009, Ms. Sekaquaptewa has addressed regional broadband issues through the construction of middle mile networks by working with Tribes to aggregate demand and harness local expertise to build Tribally-owned networks. Through COVID-19, she assisted Tribes to solve their connectivity issues through the construction of wireless residential networks. Currently, she is leading a workforce capacity program for the Pueblos to implement and maintain sustainable networks. In 2018, she worked with six Tribes in New Mexico to complete construction of two 60-mile fiber optic networks bringing high speed Internet to rural underserved Pueblos. In 2019, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai appointed her to the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee Low Income Working Group. Also, in 2019, she received the Women in Technology award from the New Mexico Technology Council. In her early work, she endeavored to build Tribal capacity and the next generation of Native IT professionals through a National Science Foundation IT Experiences for Students and Teachers award that provided STEM opportunities for Native youth. In 2016, she helped with a USDA RUS Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant that connected twelve Tribal libraries to the SFIS distance learning center, expanding Native language classes and promoting language revitalization. Ms. Sekaquaptewa is from the Hopi Tribe of Arizona. She is the mother of three children from the Pueblo de Cochiti. She holds an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and is a Woodrow Wilson fellow with an MBA from the University of New Mexico.
NAP OPENING REPRESENTATIVE: WINOKA YEPA (Diné) (she/her) Program Manager, Research and Education, Native Americans in Philanthropy Winoka Yepa (she/her/asdzaan), is Diné originally from Shiprock, New Mexico, which is located on the Navajo Nation, also known as Dinétah. Yepa brings a wealth of experience from the arts, museum, and education fields. Most recently, Yepa was the Senior Manager of Museum Education at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. As a part of her role, Yepa re-established and developed the museum’s education program, re-designed the museum’s artist residency and mural program, developed curriculum centered in decolonial methodologies, and created more community-centered programming. Yepa continues to participate in the arts and culture field with her new role as the City of Santa Fe Arts Commissioner. Yepa’s appointment to the arts commission was unanimously approved by the Mayor and City Council. Yepa was also a graduate researcher for the University of New Mexico, in which she collaborated with the University of California- Los Angeles and the University of Arizona to develop a national study of Indigenous language immersion programs that identified Native communities’ efforts to strengthen their language education through immersion teaching methods. Yepa assisted in the development of a national database of Indigenous language immersion programs in the United States with the objective to support education practices for Native faculty and students. As a part of this study, Yepa co-authored an article that explores relationality and relational accountability in Indigenous education, contextualizing these processes within a current U.S.-wide study of Indigenous-language immersion (ILI) schooling. Yepa is also a doctoral candidate in education at the University of New Mexico, in which her dissertation focuses on the development of a pilot program titled “The Reflection Project: A Study on Indigenous Identity and Storywork,” which aims to identify alternative and new representations of Indigenous identity from a decolonial framework, with emphasis on Indigenous epistemologies and storytelling. Winoka is the newly appointed City of Santa Fe Arts Commissioner.
MODERATOR: STEPHINE "STEPH" POSTON, M.A. (Pueblo of Sandia) (she/her) President & CEO, Poston & Associates, LLC “Steph” was born and raised on the Sandia Pueblo Indian Reservation. She worked for her Tribe for eleven years before launching Poston & Associates, a full-service communications firm. Steph’s expertise includes strategic facilitation, capacity-building training, leadership development, strategic communication, and event planning. She has worked with numerous Tribes and Tribal entities in New Mexico and throughout Indian Country on public relations and marketing campaigns, sacred site protection, voter empowerment, water rights, Tribal policy development, economic development, education, and healthcare. She is a co-founder of Native Women Lead and is the current Chairwoman of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts which hosts Indian Market.
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