In honor of Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day, Walker’s Legacy is proud to present a list of five Indigenous and Native American female entrepreneurs who are paving the way for future generations to come.
Carmen Davis, Founder, Publisher, and Executive Editor of Native Business Magazine
Originally of Makah Nation, Carmen Davis, along with her husband Gary Davis, have partnered on Native Business Magazine to promote and advocate Native American businesses, entrepreneurship, and economic successes. Through a digital platform, Native Business empowers entrepreneurs and enterprises all across the country.
Not only does David work in editorial, but additionally she is the owner of Native Style Clothing. Her clothing company, 100% owned and operated by Native Americans is a Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s apparel and products eCommerce business.
From its launch in 2001 to its global presence today, Native Style Clothing is a testament to Davis’ creative talents, impeccable business execution, love of her culture, and passion for Indian Country. The brand continually evolves to represent what’s hot in fashion by keeping their finger on the pulse of Indian Country.
For more information on Carmen, click here.
Sarah Eagle Heart, Storyteller, Activist, Consultant, and Author
As the recently served CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy, Sarah Eagle Heart created a narrative that changed focus around truth and healing as well as history and contemporary issues that focus on the investment in Native American communities. In her years as a CEO, she raised over $10 Million dollars for Native American women, youth, advocacy, and civic engagement.
Not only has Heart worked in the philanthropic field, but she is also an Emmy award-winning social justice storyteller, consultant, activist, author, media strategist, and producer that focuses on advocacy for Indigenous People. She is an Oglala Lakota raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota. Additionally, she is an internationally accomplished executive with a background in tribal, corporate, and non-profit work.
For more information on Sarah, click here.
Amy Yeung, Founder of Orenda Tribe
Currently based in New Mexico, Amy Yeung once found herself traveling across the globe working for big activewear brands, such as Puma and Reebok, but decided to change her career path just as it decided to take off.
Since its founding in 2015, Yeung’s fashion brand has focused on the upcycling of vintage clothing and her rediscovery of her Native American roots. Born into Navajo Nation, and then adopted outside of her tribe, she has since reconnected with her birth mother and has gradually been reintegrated into her tribe.
As Yeung continues working with Orenda, she focuses all her expertise and success of the Orenda Tribe back into the Navajo Nation community through selling the work of other indigenous designs as well as collaborating with local talent. Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we repurposed her skills and produced 80,000 masks for frontline workers, and also raised $47,000 for food and supply kits for children of the Navajo Nation.
For more information about Orenda Tribe and Amy, click here.
Teara Fraser, Founder, and CEO of Iskwew Air
Named one of Canada’s most powerful women in 2019, Teara Fraser is the founder and CEO of Iskwew Air. Back in 2001, Fraser’s entrepreneurial journey as she flew in a small plane in Botswana. Later in 2016, after selling a firm she prior established in 2010, she founded Iskwew Air – where she not only served as the CEO, but also the accountable executive, operations manager, chief pilot, and was also personally responsible for maintenance of the planes.
The airline, Iskwew (pronounced ISS-KWAY-YO), the word Cree means woman, bringing together the shared values of celebrating women and those who lift one another up.
Canada’s first Indigenous woman-owned airline launched out of Vancouver International Airport on International Women’s Day, March 12, 2019, operating short-term flights with one two-engine aircraft. Fraser has also partnered with Indigenous women tourism operators to expand her business.
For more information on Iskwew Air, click here.
Melinda Williamson, Founder of Morning Light Kombucha
In 2016, Melinda Williamson, founded of Morning Light Kombucha in Kansas that would help support her Native American community, the Potawatomi Tribe. Williamson’s inspiration came after being diagnosed with an auto-immune illness for 10 years. As she researched many alternative medication and foods, she learned about the healing properties that kombucha has, but only had one brand to select from. Thus, in 2016, Morning Light Kombucha was born.
From small batches up to 55 gallons, Williamson uses wild berries, flowers, and other resources from her tribe’s local reservation to create over 100 natural Kombucha flavors. All of her products are then sold in refillable bottles at all of her Kansas locations.
Williamson’s success of being the world’s only indigenous kombucha brand is now drawing the attention of bigger brands at food shows and offering opportunities to expand. Additionally, Morning Light Kombucha is also recognized by the USDA as part of American Indian Foods.
For more information on Morning Light Kombucha, click here.