Indigenous opinions on the state of tech: How we can leverage skills and organize within and outside of traditional tech culture

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  • State of world
  • Deep breathe
  • Tech as it relates to world outside of tech moving from extractive to regenrative (environment, social, spiritual, economic)
  • 500+ years resistance must bring that into innovation as we create the worlds ahead
  • Moving from doom and gloom to let's get working

+ Background Story for context

Natalie [Papasquialii Tepehuan, P'urhépecha, Coca, Quauhchichitl Chichimeca] is an Indigenous Innovator, Artist, & Educator born in occupied Yelamu Ohlone Territory also known as San Francisco, CA. I am a Bay Area native and leader in the Social Impact space, working on strengthening bridges between innovation, art and indigenous culture & community. I’m exploring how indigenous people can lead innovative solutions specific to our communities.


  • Arts, culture creativity
  • Indigenous culture + sovereignty
  • Tech, Education, Social Justice movements, ethnic studies, Bay Area-ness


Quick Storytime:

  • SF born - Bay Area based (context of SV in Bay + history)
  • Hack the Hood, Tech SF, BAVC
  • Servers to Server: GA Scholarship thru Adobe
  • Teaching 18-25 + Small business work
  • Opportunity to manage scholarship program + learning within D&I Space
  • Bringing skills to community
  • Bridging gap of opportunities at one company but how can we scale?

Speaking engagements:

  • Adobe MAX Summit Free Student Bootcamp
  • Speaking engagements: GA bootcamp, Race @ Work, Kapor Center

The struggle is real:

  • Staying critical but using opportunities as leverage
  • Tech is big - many areas of focus
  • What happens once we are in there?
  • Pay wage gap
  • How do we support success?
  • How can we create systems of support when there aint nobody in here?


State of Tech from Indigenous Perspective:

  • Indigenous worldview is counter to capitalist centered construct embedded within Silicon Valley Tech
  • Lack of acknowledgement - advocacy within companies
  • Question: How can we integrate indigenous worldviews into the way we consume and create technology for good?

What can we integrate:

  • Open source (education, apps, entrepreneurship)
  • Cooperative model
  • Collective community care
  • Tech apps for mutual aid + ppl organizing
  • Education + facilitate opportunities for skill gaining through career switch
  • Career advancement mentorship
  • Culture + Language revitalization

Goals + Objectives:

  • leader in D&I call out companies hiring practices to improve moving forward as solution oriented and not problem centered


  • What do you do when the GOV forgets about the hood/rez?
  • COVID Relief front facing website = outcomes


  • How can we shift consumers of tech to create community centered tech for problem solving?
  • Level playing field, facilitate skill share
  • Meeting people where they are at = generational gap of tech for BIPOC (your friend is not on LinkedIn and is not going to see that post you shared bc everyones on TikTok + IG)
  • Storytelling as a form of mentorship and access
  • Folks as Hiring Managers and in leadership positions, advocacy is everything!

Working on rn:

  • increasing access into tech
  • integrating guiding principiles to create another narrative for BIPOC sovereighty and self determination

Great orgs:

Hit me up if you think we can collaborate or are interested in continuing this dialogue

  • - Movimiento Cosecha - decentralized network of support for undocumented community with branches across the continent

Notes from Session:

Continually seek and search for that knowledge within the context of that work. Not going to be brought to us institiutionally, no way of doing that for culture based on genocide.

How has tech percolated into indigenous communities?

There are a bunch of indigenous-owned and -operated networks.. eg

Impact of indigenous folks on platforms already on use. Dogface - video with song of fleetwood mac - created moment of getting music back on billboard. Normal guy went viral. How do we use what's already there?

Importanve of reclaiming representation in your own terms. Talking about identiies, presented by impositions of some platforms. Information sharing. At end of the day providing the people with the skills or the information could allow them to know that technologies and platforms are not these spaces that are written in stone, Ppl have power to create on their own terms. Represent themselves better. Not only regarding Indigenous peoples, people of color. All these filters that change skin color, filter culture and spaces of digital rights. Idea of identities being white-washed. Raise awareness for folks and the ways in which they want to be represented in mainstream media. These spaces can help us promote that mobility.