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Native Tech Ecosystem

Key Issues

As drivers of regional and rural economies, Tribal Nations are at the forefront of job growth and should be considered critical partners in the future of the technology sector. However, due to a long history of colonization, exclusionary policies, and current practices, Native communities continue to remain excluded. As the tech sector continues to grow, it is critical Native communities are included in decision-making and leadership to ensure the path forward is inclusive and equitable. In collaboration with AISES, this report explores the current state of Native representation in the US; highlights their systemic exclusion across the tech ecosystem; and provides a set of recommendations for action.

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K-12 Computer Science Education

Not only are Native students less likely to have access to CS education, but when it is available, it lacks cultural relevance to meaningfully engage students and ensure their success in CS courses.

– Only 20% of high schools located on reservations offer CS.

– Only 312 Native girls participated in AP CS courses. Of those, approximately one-third passed the exam.

“The data underscores what Native people have been saying for generations”

– Frieda McAlear, Director of Seeding Innovation at the Kapor Foundation


% of Native students attending a school offering Computer Science


# of Native girls participating in AP Computer Science courses


# of tech board members of American Indian/Native Alaskan descent

Postsecondary Tech Pathways

The inability of the vast majority of postsecondary institutions to adopt policies and practices that promote Native identity, culture, language, and sovereignty are reflected in the current data indicating the systemic exclusion of Native communities from postsecondary tech pathways:

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of associate’s degrees in CS were conferred to Native students


of bootcamp participants identify as Indigenous


of bachelor’s degrees in CS were conferred to Native students


of registered tech apprentices identify as Native

Venture Capital

$156B was invested into entrepreneurs in 2022, with very little capital deployed to Native entrepreneurs.

– Only 9 investments went towards AI/AN and NH/PI founders in 2022.

– Only 0.02% of the total capital invested into AI/AN and NH/PI founders in 2022.

The findings of this report underscore the pressing need to eliminate these disparities through continued awareness and advocacy, educational resources, and professional development tailored to our communities.

Dr. Kathy DeerInWaterVice President of Programs and Research, AISES

We are still here despite so many efforts to destroy us and our systems of higher education and workplaces must do better in supporting the gifts we bring. We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams!

Tiffany SmithDirector of Research and Career Support, AISES

It’s crucial we recognize the history of exclusionary policies Indigenous communities have faced and the ways this history lives on through today’s inequities in education and the workforce.

Dr. Allison ScottCEO, Kapor Foundation

Not only are Native and Indigenous communities excluded from working in tech – they’re not even given the chance to learn about computing and the possibilities of working in computing fields as a way to support their families and people.

Frieda McAlearDirector of Seeding Innovation, Kapor Foundation

Tech Workforce

Very little has shifted with respect to representation at the board-, executive-, or worker-levels in the tech industry. Native tech professionals are rarely even tracked.

– Zero board members of American Indian/Native Alaskan descent in the top 200 tech companies (2021-22).

– Two of the 6 largest U.S.-based tech companies reporting data have actually decreased Native representation since 2018.

Download the Full Native Tech Ecosystem Report Here

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Seeding Innovation Project

AISES and the Kapor Center are working together to provide culturally revitalizing computer science curriculum to partner schools across the county. We work collaboratively with our school sites to create an engaging computer science curriculum, integrate cultural traditions, language, stories, art and more. It is a tribe-specific computer science curriculum that is built with and for the partner communities. If you are interested in being a part of this amazing opportunity, apply below!

Apply Here