Daniel Forward Native American Tribal Member (POMO) is the CEO and Founder of Natives Rising. Aboriginal height Highlights positive Native American role models in technology. recently appeared on elpha
My name is Daniel Forward and I’m the CEO and Founder of Natives Rising. Our mission is to economically empower Indigenous communities through jobs in the tech industry in Silicon Valley. We’re also working to provide an incubator for the original founders, who are incredibly underrepresented and lack the network and resources that other Silicon Valley founders often have.
Prior to Natives Rising, I spent about 5 years as a Product Designer at Meta. It was, and still is, rare for any Indigenous people to ever work in big tech. At first, I just wanted to know if there was anyone out there like me. Most of the people around me came from Ivy League schools and had a lot of parental support. I started in junior college and paid for everything on my own. It took me ten years to earn a bachelor’s degree, taking classes part time while working full time along the way.
For context, Indigenous peoples are the poorest group in the United States. There are more than 9.7 million of us in the United States alone. We have the lowest high school and college graduation rates. This has nothing to do with merit, but everything to do with intergenerational trauma from colonialism, lack of role models, family and social support networks, and exclusion from privileged institutions and networks due to financial resources. More than 70% of the indigenous population lives in urban areas, but for those who live in rural areas, these statistics are even worse, and the list goes on.
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