Tag Archives: business

Nathan McCowan | Our Right to Modernity

Nathan McCowan is the President and CEO of St. George Tanaq Corporation, a village corporation created by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

Nathan is Tlingit and Aleut. Prior to St. George he worked for Sealaska Corporation. Through this work experience he has been able to work for two companies that represent his Tlingit and Aleut heritage.


We discuss several different issues in this podcast. From business and leadership, to race. This podcast was recorded the week of the Charleston shooting. As part of that conversation, I mentioned the recent interview President Obama did with Marc Marron on “WTF,” the host’s podcast. As an aside, it is crazy that podcasting has got to a point where the President chose to be a guest on one. But more relevant to the conversation, that episode was recorded just after the shooting an they have an insightful conversation.

Nathan coined a great term “the right to modernity.” This has to do with our right as Native people to be modern people, without giving up who we are as peoples. Sometimes we hold ourselves to this standard. It was a great way to describe the idea.


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Haven Harris | Alaska Native Business

Haven Harris

Haven Harris is Inupiaq Eskimo from Nome, Alaska. Haven works in government contracting as a means for economic development for Alaska Natives. We have a great conversation that spans attending the University of Michigan site unseen, his incidental foray into politics, and how he got into the world of business for Alaska Natives.


Courtesy Dennis Worden

This is a great episode with lots of good information. Haven is a friend and I was not disappointed with the interview. One of the things I am noticing about the NextGen Natives that I interview is that they all have certain things in common. In particular, several have discussed the importance of asking good questions. They also stress the importance of exercise in their personal and professional lives. It is great to hear these consistencies and others come up because although each story is unique, my hope is that listeners can take away general themes from the guests.


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Show Notes/Links:

Nome, Alaska

University of Michigan

University of Alaska Anchorage

Senator Donny Olson

Norton Sound Health Corporation

Bering Straits Native Corporation

Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association (APICDA)

Iditarod Race

Vice News, Antarctica episode

Fab 5

Western Undergraduate Exchange program

Willie Hensley


Hope Floats

Think Fast Think Slow

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****

Bryan Newland Interview

Shon Quannie | 4X Studio

Shon Quannie

Shon Quannie is Pueblo of Acoma, Hopi and New Mexican. He owns 4X studio based in Phoenix, Arizona. On this episode of the NextGen Native podcast, we discuss his work at 4X Studio and design generally.

Shon Quannie, courtesy of Shon Quannie

Shon Quannie, courtesy of Shon Quannie

I have to give Shon Quannie a shout out because he helped design the NextGen Native logo. We discuss its meaning in the episode, so if you are curious about how it came to be, check it out!



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Links and Resources

Pueblo of Acoma




Arizona State University

Aeronautical Engineering

Industrial Design

Durango Mountain Resort (aka Purgatory)


4X buttons

Revised Google logo

Fast Company





Grand Budapest hotel

Gary Hutswit movies

– Urbanized trailer

– Objectified

– Helvetica

Healthy Active Natives Facebook page

Arizona Indian Chamber of Commerce



013 Monica Simeon | Sister Sky

Monica Simeon and the Beginning of Sister Sky

Monica is a Spokane tribal member. She attended the University of Washington. She almost left school before graduating but was able to stick with it. After graduate, Monica worked for a tribal casino. But Monica got the itch of an entrepreneur.

Monica is now CEO of Sister Sky. The company makes all natural products such as soap, shampoo, conditioners, etc. on her tribe’s reservation. The company’s formulas are rooted in traditional tribal ingredients.

Monica Simeon’s began Sister Sky as a “hobby business.” But Monica and her sister decided to grow it into a full fledged business. The company now operates a production plant on her reservation. Sister Sky also employs tribal youth to help fill orders. Monica is proud to provide jobs for young people that work for her during summers.


Monica Simeon, image courtesy of Monica Simeon

Monica’s success attracts advice seekers. And she is happy to share. Monica Simeon and her sister realized this was another business opportunity.  And they decided to go for it. Recently, they launched Sister Sky Enterprises, Inc. Monica is the VP of this new company.

Monica Simeon has created two businesses. One makes products. The other provides services. Both are rooted in her tribal culture. Monica shares advice with us. This includes: do not be afraid to ask questions. There are many resources for people to utilize, you just have to ask. I strongly believe in this principle. Asking questions is not a weakness. Questions provide knowledge. Asking questions is powerful. Asking good questions is even more powerful. This goes beyond business. This can apply to culture, language, etc.

Hear more of Monica Simeon by listening to the episode! For more information about her businesses, she the links in the show notes.

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Show Notes

Spokane Tribe

Sister Sky

Sister Sky Enterprises

University of Washington

Burt’s Buzz

Miccosukee Resort

Distribution network

Value of Asking Good Questions

Indianpreneurship by ONABEN

Elevator Pitch

SBA 8(a) program and certification

Sister Sky on Facebook