Melody Sauceda, a master jewelry maker, shows off her entreprenerial skills at the recent National Indian Gamin Association’s Tradeshow and Convention in Las Vegas. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert
Publishing May 5, 2018
EVANSTON, ILLINOIS — Social entrepreneurship, side gigs and shared economy are all buzz words today, but they represent practices used by Indigenous cultures for centuries. The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is preparing for an innovative exhibit and program series on Indigenous Entrepreneurship from 2018-2020. The exhibit explores how Indigenous world views and values are embedded into business models used by today’s Indigenous entrepreneurs and how these practices can benefit all.
On May 8th from noon-1pm, the museum will host an “On the Table” discussion about what to include in the exhibit and programming. The preview exhibit opens June 7th followed by an 18-month long program series and an expansion of the exhibit in 2019.
The museum invites you to tell us your experience with entrepreneurship and Indigenous-owned businesses: the unique opportunities, barriers to participation, and how you think we can break down these barriers and bring greater success to Indigenous businesses. “So many people have no idea the history and recent expansion of tribal and indigenous businesses, and we want to make more people aware of the great things going on in Indian Country” says the Mitchell Museum’s Executive Director, Kathleen McDonald.
If you would like your business to be included in the exhibit, please contact the museum at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a loan or donation of materials for display or specifications for digital files of logos and other print materials. The museum is also looking for people interested in sharing their expertise with budding Indigenous entrepreneurs in a program or mentorship.
The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is one of only a few museums across the nation that focuses exclusively on the art, history, culture, and current events of American Indian and First Nation peoples from throughout the US and Canada – over 1,200 sovereign nations. For the past 41 years, the museum’s mission to promote and share a deeper understanding and respect of Native American peoples remains profoundly important in Illinois where there are no reservations and there is no state mandate to teach about American Indian peoples in schools.
“Surprisingly, we have visitors, young and old, that are unaware that American Indians still exist today. Through our exhibits, programs, teacher trainings, tours, and outreach we believe that the Mitchell Museum makes a difference in the lives of American Indian peoples: When teachers, politicians, judges, and health care providers have a greater understanding of American Indian treaty rights and cultural practices, they can be better stewards of the treaty responsibilities of the US government. When more people understand the spiritual significance of American Indian practices, they are less likely to misappropriate or denigrate sacred objects and spaces of American Indian peoples. When there is a greater appreciation of the significant contributions, knowledge, and creativity of American Indian peoples, there is less negative stereotyping and discrimination. The museum’s program participants can transform the dialogue to one of cultural understanding and equitable solutions to today’s challenges for Indigenous peoples. While our visitors are predominately non-Native, we partner closely with Indigenous community members from across the country to develop our exhibits and lead our programs to bring a spotlight to Indigenous worldviews and topics that are important to Native peoples today” explains Kathleen McDonald.