Monday, July 5, 2010

Boulder: Indigenous Leaders to Speak at Unreasonable Institute on Native Entrepreneurship in Boulder

Contacts: Daniel Rosen, (201) 207-9273 and Gabriel Yaiva, (928)699-9601,

Indigenous Leaders to speak at Unreasonable Institute this week on Native entrepreneurship
Press statement

BOULDER -- Twenty-two leading social-entrepreneurs, haling from 15 countries, with innovative businesses are working, living, and eating together for 10 weeks at the Unreasonable Institute. They are working on businesses that have a social purpose -- something that will be both profitable and work within markets and that will also change the world.

On Friday, July 9th, The Unreasonable Institute will be hosting 5 leading Indigenous entrepreneurs to speak on building sustainable enterprises on reservations and what it means to be a Native social-entrepreneur. The community is welcome to attend (information below)

"We are so excited for the opportunity to host these inspiring leaders," Daniel Epstein, Founding President of Unreasonable said. He continued, "The issues facing Native America are similar to that facing the developing world and these leaders are offering promising sustainable innovations right here in our backyard."

Often when we think of social entrepreneurs, we think of people working in communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, on pressing social challenges.

Yet within the United States, there are communities that have living conditions similar to developing nations. Many Native American tribes have great challenges in economic development (high rates of unemployment, unmet development needs, and reliance on industries that impact their people negatively). Some communities still lack basic amenities such as running water and electricity. There are an estimated 2.1 million Native Americans, and according to census numbers, are the poorest of any ethnic group.

And still, there is a history of resistance, persistence, adaptation, and survival. And there are leaders who continue this tradition and are building a new paradigm.

"It's time to shift the story," said Gabriel Yaiva (Dine/Hopi) of 4th World Entertainment, "It's time to go from looking at our situation as problems and looking at the abundance of opportunities and blessings. Native America can be a seat of innovative thinking and projects."

These leaders are creating opportunities for their people and for the world and turning their lands that were once left for sacrifice, into the sacred lands of the new economy -- places where innovation, creativity, and hope flourish. The panelists will be presentation about Native business today and highlight some successes and failures of their own. They will also be sharing their personal stories and how they came to be where they are today. These stories will inspire anyone who attends.

Kelvin Long and Gabriel Yaiva are young Navajo/ Hopi social entrepreneurs. Having founded successful businesses in hip-hop, green business, and other industries, both have led campaigns to protect sacred sites, their land, and culture. They will be joined by Tony Skrelunas, who is former director of Economic Development for the Navajo tribe and is considered a premier business leader in Indian Country. Additionally, Gordon Isaac and Derrick Terry, two leading green housing specialists and builders in Native America, who are leading the way in sustainable housing and renovation, will be presenting as well. The leaders speak internationally and reside in Northern Arizona.

The Unreasonable Institute’s Native Entrepreneur Panel will be July 9th from 3:00pm to 4:30pm at the
Unreasonable Institute, which is located at 1715 Aurora St, Boulder, Co.

The event is co-sponsored by Mosaic Ventures, one of the projects of the Summer Institute.
Additional sponsorship was made possible by Intersector Partner

For more information about the presenters:

For more information about the Unreasonable Institute:
25 Brilliant Entrepreneurs with ventures in 17 countries under one roof = World's most Unreasonable TV series (

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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