Harjo Lauded as First Native American Poet Laureate
Joy Harjo was appointed by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to serve as the 23rd Poet Laureate in 2019. Harjo is the first Native American poet to serve in the position–she is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation–and is the author of eight books of poetry, including “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings,” “The Woman Who Fell From the Sky” and “In Mad Love and War.”
Joy Harjo, Native American Poet Laureate, pictured top left.
First Native American Delivers Invocation on the House Floor
Isleta Pueblo Chief Justice Verna Teller made history in Congress on November 13, 2019 by being the first Native American woman to deliver the opening prayer on the U.S. House floor. New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland invited Verna Teller to lead the prayer in honor of Native American Heritage Month. But Teller has been breaking barriers long before her historic delivery in the House. “She broke barriers when she was elected as the first woman Pueblo governor,” said Rep. Haaland in the moments before Teller led the prayer. “Because of the history of colonization, many Pueblos generally don’t allow woman to hold leadership positions.”
Chief Justice Verna Teller, pictured top right, on the left.
First Indigenous Woman-Owned Airline Debuts in Canada
Teara Fraser, is the CEO and creator of Canada’s first Indigenous woman-owned airline. The name was chosen as an act of reclamation of womanhood, matriarchal leadership, and language. Iskwew Air–which is a Cree word for “woman”–provides scheduled and charter service to remote communities across the province in an effort to boost accessibility and Indigenous tourism. “Iskwew Air is for everyone…we support, encourage and champion all women, all those identifying as women, but also all of those who are supporting women,” said Fraser, who was named one of Women’s Executive Network Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2019.
Teara Fraser, CEO and creator of Canada’s first Indigenous woman-owned airline, pictured at bottom.
As of 2019, Native American/Alaska Native women-owned businesses:
• Numbered 180,300 or 1.4% of all women-owned businesses.
• Have grown at an annual rate for the past year of 6% compared to 4.7% annual growth between 2014 and 2019.
• Earned average revenue per firm of $68,500 vs. $142,900 among all women-owned businesses.
While the number of women-owned businesses grew 21% from 2014 to 2019, firms owned by Native American/Alaska Native women (26%) businesses grew more slowly than for women of color in general but faster than women-owned businesses and businesses overall.