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This webinar builds on three articles our panelists wrote for a NPQ series this fall on ways Native communities are organizing for economic justice and sovereignty.

In partnership with the First Nations Development Institute (“First Nations”), this webinar brings together three leading Indigenous economic justice leaders who speak about their work and the challenges they face in their economy-building and decolonizing work in Indian Country.

Heather Fleming (Navajo) is executive director of Change Labs, the only business incubator and accelerator on Navajo land. Fleming works with Hopi and Navajo (Diné) citizens to create a supportive business ecosystem for Native entrepreneurs.

Jaime Gloshay (Navajo/White Mountain Apache/Kiowa) is Co-Director of Building and Impact at Native Women Lead, a group that supports and invests in Native Women in business.

Lakota Vogel (Cheyenne River Sioux) is CEO of Four Bands Community Loan Fund, a community development financial institution (CDFI) in South Dakota. The CDFI she leads is redesigning lending to enable Native residents to build homes on trust lands.

This webinar explores a range of questions, including the following:

  • What does economic justice in Indian Country look like? How do Native economic values differ from those typically espoused in US discourse?
  • How does ongoing colonialism constrain economic development? What levers are Native leaders using to build self-sufficiency and economic sovereignty?
  • What are some of the key components of a Native economic development ecosystem? How does one go about filling the gaps that exist?
  • What are some leading examples of successful Native-owned businesses?
  • What are the 5Cs of credit? Why does the traditional credit system fail to meet the needs of Native communities? What might an alternative look like?
  • What will it take to put trust lands to work for Native American benefit? Why are present remedies like “loan guarantees” inadequate?
  • What steps can nonprofits and philanthropy take to support Native leaders?


Heather Fleming, “Helping Native Business Owners Thrive: How to Build a Supportive Ecosystem,” NPQ, September 29, 2021.

Raymond Foxworth, “The ‘Long Awaiting’—Lifting Up Native Voices for Economic Justice,” NPQ, September 15, 2021.

Jaime Gloshay and Vanessa Roanhorse, “Moving Beyond the 5 C’s of Lending: A New Model of Credit for Indian Country,” NPQ, October 6, 2021.

Fern Orie, “Building Community through Finance: A Wisconsin Native CDFI’s Story,” NPQ, October 13, 2021.

Nikki Pieratos and Krystal Two Bulls, “Land Back: A Necessary Act of Reparations,” NPQ, October 11, 2021.

A-dae Romero Briones, “Regeneration from the Beginning,” NPQ, October 13, 2020.

Lakota Vogel, “Rewriting the Rules: Putting Trust Lands to Work for Native American Benefit,” NPQ, September 22, 2021.