[Read The Short History]
This story tells how Danielle first connected the dots about Indian Country and struggled to piece together what little she knew about Native Americans with this whole new world unfolding before her.
In The Beginning…
From late 1999 to early 2001, I worked at a B2B E-marketplace solutions company in Silicon Valley. During that time, I saw the potential of the e-marketplace framework.
In May of 2000, I wrote a proposal on what I called ‘igniting the true global economy.’ After all, what is a global economy if you’re always dealing with the same established players. The proposal entailed hosting a summit where we would invite various organizations to participate from around the world independent of their current economic situations; Organizations like NGO’s (non-governmental organizations), businesses, individuals, etc. The idea was to experiment in the building of a new economic model and to create new standards of doing business. This proposal was well received by my managers, both vice presidents.
One month later, I had a personal revelation. I left work early one day and went home to relieve stress by watching television. As I flipped between channels, I came across a movie, ‘Geronimo, An American Legend’. Something in the actor’s face and presence (Wes Studi who played Geronimo) struck me deeply. The past, present, and future came together for me all at once. It was as if someone picked me up and threw me into the wall – hard! I always considered myself to be a conscious person until I actually woke up. That day I did. I mean, I had always known we had various American Indian tribes on this land, but all my information was piecemeal. I had never put the pieces together until now.
The torrent of emotions that raged within me from that moment on was incomparable to anything else I ever felt. Emotions ranged from rage and inconsolable grief to determination and joy. Thus began my American Indian education.
Later that week, I revisited my proposal with my manager, but with a slightly different approach. I said, “What better way of setting new standards than with our own people – The American Indians.” My destiny changed from that day forward.
In September of 2000, I visited my first tribe and presented a proposal with a short-term objective of hosting online auctions and a long-term objective of creating a Native American E-marketplace.
In October of 2000, I attended a conference hosted by World Resources Institute, “Creating Digital Dividends”. I was invited to attend this conference, because I gave a compelling story regarding the digital divide and my company’s possible involvement in Indian Country. See http://www.digitaldividend.org.
That same month, I presented to tribal leaders and business people at a B2B conference in Oklahoma City on the topic of e-marketplace solutions, in particular, the creation of a Native American e-marketplace.
Moving forward, I entered into dialogue with the CEO of my company. The CEO was certainly open to my idea. He expressed interest in working with American Indians. He mentioned that the president and founder of the World Economic Forum had been talking about similar ideas in terms of emerging markets. He suggested I contact him to brainstorm and see what we could come up with. The president of WEF and I began an initial dialogue, but unfortunately, my efforts were cut short by a workforce reduction. The beginning of the end of the dot com era.
Although I was no longer at that company, the vision remained with me. Since then, I have furthered my knowledge of Indian Country, established relationships with tribal leaders and American Indian business people, co-produced a gallery exhibit of Indian artisans in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and launched the Reconnecting The Circle National High School Essay Contest November 1, 2006. The sky’s the limit!