Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Turtle Island Native American Tourism Company

What is the name of your solution?

Tours In Our Homeland, Narrated in Our Indigenous Voices

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Erasure is a component of Systemic Racism. Indigenous perspective narrated tours of our homelands solves the problem of our Erasure in many ways.

What specific problem are you solving?

Eastern Woodland Native American Tribal Nations have been harmed at alarming rates by a Colonization Technique called Erasure.  Colonization Techniques are the components that cause genocide. 

 Genocide comes in many forms other than war and violence. 

The pen and written word are strong weapons employed to harm through erasure.   Erasure is a dominating group excluding a minority group or person from a historical record, discussion, or from a current event.   It also is referred to as sanitizing or whitewashing a story with fiction at the detriment of the character or group being erased out of History.  Erasure is the denial or misrepresentation and misidentification of a minority's member and community or historic event associated with a minority group.


  In the case of Eastern Woodland Native Americans, the erasure of our existence as individuals and historic communities has caused us great harm. When dominating hegemonic societies systematically oppress through rhetorical language, erasure, and categorizing status by discounting and eliminating one's existence, it causes extreme phycological, social, economical, and educational disparities to the group and to an individual. 

 For example, a child's identity, self-awareness, and self-esteem have important impacts on their phycological well-being.  When a child's mere existence and community is historically erased by the dominating communities curriculum, everyone is affected.   Non-Native adults recall that they were taught in school that Eastern Woodland tribes were destroyed and some do not even exist anymore.  When they realize that the authoritative history of the United States was not necessarily always true, they feel as if they have been cheated out of their education and the truth.  

It is believed that erasure and oppression among other colonization techniques of genocide are key issues on why these statistics are so high.  Native American youth statistics are above average in drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide.   Many Native American social-economic status is below poverty level. 

 Native American Cultural inclusion and equity is a way to push back erasure and racism.   It is extremely critical for the Eastern  Woodland tribes to have opportunity and inclusion, in education, employment, and cultural diversity and equity, because we are less than one percent of the countries' whole population.

What is your solution?

Turtle Island Native American Tourism Company are in-person tours culturally presented with traditioanl outfits and music performances.  Our tours are walking tours presented through the perspective of Eastern Woodland Native American people. The tours are about significant places in our homelands that have great meaning to us. 

 Turtle Island Native American Tourism Company (TINATC) creates an opportunity for diverse employment and for Eastern Woodland Tribal members to assert and define their own identity and historic narrative. 

 TINATC is entertaining, meaningful presentations through an emic Native person's cultural perspective.  TINATC share stories that date back as far as our memory can remember or since time immemorial of the places that  matter to us.

Presenting tours narrated by an Eastern Woodland Tribal member through a Native perspective offers an opportunity for people to learn what was not taught to them because of erasure.  

Turtle Island Native American Tourism Company takes pride in our ancestors and our victory of survival, resilience, and fortitude through a four hundred year genocide.   We assert culturally our true identity and place in History where our story belongs. Our stories and presence in our homleand  are no longer erased. 

Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit? In what ways will your solution benefit this community?

The targeted population of people whose lives TINATC are working to directly improve is Eastern Woodland Native Americans of North America who have suffered from the abuse of erasure, oppression, and racism.  TINATC employs Eastern Woodland Native Americans to conduct tours publicly asserting their  history and identity connected to the land on the tour. 

Another targeted market is curious people who want to learn the Pokanoket and Narragansett perspective of History by listening to a culturally emic voice.   There are  tourist who want to visit  and learn about Indegenous people  and there are many who advocate and graciously invite radical change that pushes back on racism and erasure of a minority groups. 

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

TINACT has partnered with the Rhode Island Historical Society to present our first tour.  It was very successful!  

 TINACT is partnering with an established  non profit organization called Go Providence which is offering marketing for our tours on their website.  Their website is known to draw people into the area by offering the many unique events available in Providence including cultural tourism. I have also partnered with Rhode Island SCORE  Seniors Community of Retired Entrepreneurs who assist and mentor me. 

The co-Director of TINATC, Pam Ellis Esq, and I have presented Native American music performances and cultural tours of places that matter to us for over thirty years.  Pam and I have mentored my two daughters Jasmine, and Jacquelyn Moorehead to continue our legacy of learning from Traditional woman, teaching traditional music to Native woman, performing and composing Traditional Native American music and telling the Oral Traditional Stories of our homelands.  We have worked with tribal nations' elders,  colleges, universities and museums through out the region.   We have composed many songs about Native American culture and issues that are current and from the past.  Our group of women is callled Nettukkusqk Singers.  Our mission is to learn from elders and woman who knew the traditional music of our ancestors and teach traditional music of the East Coast Woodland tribes to Native woman of this region.   TINATC also employs Native American men who sing on drums and play flute. 

Our model business design is able to transfer and be set up in any region with  the Indigenous people taking the role of presenting in their own style, their own story, in their own words.  

Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Richmond, R.I., USA

Our solution's stage of development:


How many people does your solution currently serve?

The region of East Coast Woodland Native American homelands . It is also called New England U.S.A.

Why are you applying to Solve?

TINACT specific needs are to have legal support and a strong marketing and  ticketing platform.   We also  need an office with an agent to take care of the scheduling and ticket sales, office equipment, computers, a website, and website manger, brochures, a van, insurance and funds for audio video , microphones, clothing, and musical instruments.  We welcome partnerships.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design, data analysis, etc.)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Deborah Spears Moorehad

Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your Team Lead.

Seakonk Pokanoket Wampanoag/ Narragansset/Nipmuc /Pequot /

Is the Team Lead a resident of the United States?


Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Support the creation and growth of Native owned businesses and promote workforce programs in tribal communities.

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Our solution is innovative because there are not any walking tours of the land in Rhode Island and Massachusetts in a Native American's first-person perspective and words.  There are plenty of museums, however, there are not any walking tours of lands that matter to the Indigenous people.   Our solution to the problem of erasure of Eastern Woodland Native American people is to present to the public our presence in our homelands and our history since as far back in time as our Native American tribe's collective memory could remember through Oral Traditional, History, and Science. 

I believe TINACT will bring a positive impact to the region because it promotes  Native American self-esteem, cultural equity, and social and economic growth for all the businesses in the region by bringing in cultural tourism to the region. 

There is Native American Tourism throughout the United States, however, in New England, there is only one that I know of a Native-run walking tour tourism company.  We are innovative to be embarking on this trajectory. We are the innovators.  We do not have Native American role models to guide our way or teach us the best practices, however, we seek the information we need by working dilengently to find the best answers.   

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

I once painted a mural funded by the National Museum of the American Indian to teach fifteen  Native American children the Techniques of Colonization. The painting was four murals that explained how to live the opposite of the techniques  The learning curve was if you know what the techniques are you will be able to recognize them and realize the healthy way of life is to live the opposite of Colonization Techniques.  The students learned that the Techniques of Colonization are to not speak your tribes name, not to speak your language, not wear their hair long, not practice traditional ways, hate your identity, hate your tribe, hate your Native community, and so on.  The lessons that were offered were the opposite of these techniques, for example;  to love yourself, forget about division and work towards unity, love your family and your Native community, speak your language and assert your Native identity and embrace your cultural ways.  I found that the children who learned these lessons through the process of  painting that mural called (Nuneechum NuPeesh Kansh) Our Children Our Future have great self-love and esteem as adults and grew to be some of those most humble and honorable adults.

I believe the impact of TINACT will cause the Eastern Woodland Native people pride and esteem to be able to share to the public in our own voices and words our cultural knowledge of ourselves and our homelands.  

TINACT next year's goal is to give two hours per month in the spring through fall season weather permitting. The five-year goal is to have at least two tours in Rhode Island and two tours in Massachusetts and to hire more Natives to give more tours in other places that matter. My business partner and I have goals to set this  business model up and be able to teach Native people across  North America (Turtle Island) on setting up their own tourism company.

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

We will take measurable surveys and use measurable indicators on how many people are impacted, by our tours.  We will partner with environmental scientists to measure the improvement to the land, air and water quality in the area we are giving tours,  We will give surveys to see what is working and what needs improvement.   We will keep track of how we increase involvements through partnerships with other organizations that have common goals as we have.

What is your theory of change?

     Our theory of change is that Turtle Island Native American Tourism Company offer opportunity for all to learn about what makes a place sacred  and matter in our homeland through an Indegenous person's perspective   We believe that when an Indigenous History is disclosed in a Story Telling context and scope that travels back in time as far as our Oral History can remember,  a new appreciation for the place and  sustainabilty of Earth's enviroment, divesity of cultures , equity  and humanity will develope in the area.

 Our solution is to  employ a staff of Native and diverse people for the many positions needed to carry the business forward. 

However, it has been proven that whenever Indigenous people are given their homelands  back the ecology of the land improves.  There is an example in New Zealand where the tribal populations were given back the seashore.  The sea and the shore improved tremendously.   There are also examples in the Philippines where Indigenous people were given the land back and their  environment improved back to it's healthy state.  These are the sought of results we are striving for.  As we disclose the oral traditions, rich history, and memory of places that matter to us , our hope is the land's well-being will improve as the people that call that place home to begin to take responsibility for protecting a shared homelands.

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

We plan on incorporating a system to be able to gauge the evidence-based knowledge of improvement to the land, air and water by employing scientist to team with Native American  Traditional Enviromental Knowledge keepers to work together towards the same goals.  A system will be incorporated that uses a  traditional knowledge as well as a scientic study.    

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
  • Audiovisual Media
  • Behavioral Technology
  • Big Data
  • Biotechnology / Bioengineering
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  • 7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  • 13. Climate Action
  • 14. Life Below Water
  • 15. Life on Land
  • 16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals

In which states do you currently operate?

  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island

In which states will you be operating within the next year?

  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

How many people work on your solution team?

We will have approximately 10 people part time to start our business.

How long have you been working on your solution?

We have been working on this solution for over thirty years, presenting programs re: Eastern Woodland People , issues, Tradition , culture and solutions.

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

Our approach of incorporating diversity is to hire the best person for each job that is required. We will hire people no matter what their race ethnicity gender or religion.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Our lead group will develop tours by working with Indigenous people and have them guide the directions as to what places matter to them in their homeland.  Once it is determined we work with the group to make  a walking tour.   We will hire and train people to entertain, inform, demonstrate and  educate.   Our tours are entertaining with traditional music, stories and lessons on cultural and environmental sustainability.  Our business model is basically  five Native people with TEK Traditional Environmental Knowledge, Artist talented people  from many disciplines  and people with Story Telling presence to conduct tours in their homeland at places that matter to them. . 

For example the core of our group is Four Traditional women's  performance singing group accompanied by two Native men flautist.  As we walk the tour we stop at significant places, present the history, entertain with a traditional  or contemporary Native songs, and we stop to give lesson on environmental stewardship and sustainability.   

Our model is to find the talented Native American TEK keepers, presenters , performers, demonstraters and educators in each tribes  homeland and develope a tour with them.  Once their tour is developed we work with the group to add Native and Non Native vendors along the tour.  We train these leaders to assist other tribes in the same way. We work with each trie to develop partnerships with organizations that compliment each other, like tourism councils and marketing groups. 


Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

We plan on funding our tours by ticket sales, grants and applying for micro  business loans.  We will sell vending spaces for Native people to sell products that are Native hand made objects and we will sell art, books  and items like tee shirts, hats and  jewelry.  

We wil also give presentations, lectures, talks and  tours to educational institutions.  

Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

I have received grants for my Art from The Smithsonian Institute, Ford Fondation, Brown University, Rhode Island State Council for the Arts, The City of Providence Arts Culture and Tourism PVD fest, The Collective Museum of Wakefield Rhode Island, The Polumbeka Project of Turner Falls, Casey Farms in Narragansset Rhod Island,  New England Museum, and the Tomaquag Museum   

Solution Team

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