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Native American Heritage Month 2023: Celebrating Indigenous Voices In Tech | CRN



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Wade Tyler Millward

Accenture’s Suzanne Randall, TICOM’s Madonna Peltier-Yawakie and IBM’s Brendan Kinkade share stories from their tech careers and advocacy for indigenous peoples.

Suzanne Randall wrote the business case 16 years ago that started Accenture’s Native American Employee Resource Group.

Madonna Peltier-Yawakie and her husband help tribal entities secure funding for broadband network designs, project implementation and operational support.

And Brendan Kinkade has leveraged positions with IBM, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and Los Angeles’ school district to bring technology education and skilling to indigenous youth.

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, CRN spoke with three indigenous executives in technology and business about their starts in the industry and efforts they view as helpful in bringing more Native Americans to vendors and solution providers.

[RELATED: Women’s History Month 2023: Contributions In IT And Tech]

Native American Heritage Month 2023

Much work remains to increase the presence of Native Americans – 3 percent of the U.S. population and one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the country, according to Native News Online – in tech and business.

An October report from AISES and the Kapor Foundation found that only 59 percent of Native students attend a school offering computer science and only 20 percent of high schools located on reservations offer CS.

Of registered technical apprentices, 0.6 percent are American Indian or Alaskan Native (AI/AN). Fewer are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (NH/PI). And despite a 10 percent enrollment increase in associate’s degrees in computing, the percent of those degrees granted to Native students is 1 percent for AI/AN and 0.4 percent for NH/PI students.

AI/AN students represent 0.4 percent of bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients and 0.1 percent of doctoral degree recipients, according to the report.

And of the six largest U.S.-based tech companies reporting data on Native employees, two have decreased Native representation since 2018.

Read on for the stories and efforts shared with CRN this Native American Heritage Month.


Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at

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