Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Lost Eden Inc.

What is the name of your solution?

Lost Eden Gallery

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Bringing our Oceania ancestors home through decolonizing museum collections for the protection of Indigenous culture, language, & arts.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

Problem Statement: 

Due to the deeply rooted colonial history surrounding US and European art collections and

archives, major museums and art institutions are facing systematic and infrastructural

challenges in the ethical stewardship of Indigenous heritage items and cultural material. Access

to these extensive materials of Oceania cultural heritage stored in museums are primarily

limited to non-Indigenous students and researchers. Additionally, interpretation of museum

and art collections has often been conducted by cultural outsiders (i.e. Westerners, non-

Indigenous) and documented in the English language in academic articles and museum exhibits

that (historically) have rarely been relevant to the peoples whose cultural heritage is being

displayed and studied. Because of this exclusionary practice carried out by museums and art

institutions, some of the biggest challenges facing today’s Oceania art world is cultural erasure,

scarcity of space to showcase art, and a steep misinterpretation of Indigenous Oceania art.


Many collections of Indigenous and Oceanic art and artifacts are disconnected from the communities they originated in.  Primary interaction with these collections, especially where archives are concerned, has been primarily white and male. The Gallery in Lost Eden, a space dedicated to Indigenous art in Utah and storytelling as method, seeks to work with the institutions these collections are housed in to facilitate those missing connections between collection and community.  This work can serve to help revitalize language and create stronger community ties in those communities or origin, among other benefits.

This paper will seek to provide an overview of existing collections and their endowments/outreach efforts (specifically the collections of The Smithsonian, the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, and the Met), as well as to pose one possible solution to the issue of community estrangement from heritage collections.

The Current Environment

A. The Harvard-Peabody Collection

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University is located on Harvard campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The museum was founded in 1866 by George Peabody (About the Peabody Museum, n.d.) and is the “oldest museum of anthropologies in the Americas” (YouTube, 2021).  The museum’s collection contains “more than 1.2 million individual objects, 500,000 photographic images, and substantial archival records” (Collections by Area, n.d.).  The museum’s Oceanic collection contains “one of the oldest and largest collections of cultural objects in the Western Hemisphere” (Peabody Museum Collections, n.d.).

The collection was initially sourced with George Peabody’s funding and through donations from the public.  Many of the initial donations were contributed by nearby residents of Newburyport, which had significant seafaring connections (YouTube, 2021).  Overall, the collection is “extensive and include(s) cultural materials collected by Boston merchants, traders, explorers, and researchers on Pacific voyages dating back to the late 18th century. Collections include items from various New England learned societies, the China Maritime Trade, the Massachusetts Whaling Industry, Boston and New England missionaries, the U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-1842), the U.S. Fish Commission Expeditions, Harvard-Australia Expeditions of the 1930s, the Harvard Solomon Islands projects, and collections acquired from other museums in the area” (Oceania and Asia-Pacific, n.d.).

The museum’s current stated mission is to engage in, support, and promote “the study and appreciation of ancient and contemporary peoples from around the world,” the museum seeks to collect, preserve, and interpret “cultural and related materials and” offer “unique opportunities for innovative teaching, research, and enrichment at Harvard and with communities worldwide” (About the Peabody Museum, n.d.).

Outreach programs from the Peabody Museum include the Harvard Oceanic Collections Engagement Fellowship (HOCEF), a fellowship that seeks to create “community engagement by creating opportunities for the diverse communities of Oceania to connect with the significant historic and cultural collections from the region at Harvard University, and to produce and publicly share their own reflections on these collections” (Harvard Oceanic Collections Engagement Fellowship (HOCEF), 2021).  The HOCEF works specifically to connect communities in Utah with the Peabody collection.

B. The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as “the Met”, is one of the largest museums in the United States. Located in New York right next to Central Park is where tourists and locals continue to crowd as they are soon to indulge in the famous art. The museum stretches in size and covers around 2.2 million square feet. Bringing in massive amounts of art, it is focused on presenting over 5,000 years of art for people to engage and take interest in. The purpose of the museum was “ establishing and maintaining in said city a Museum and library of art, of encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts, and the application of arts to manufacture and practical life” (Metropolitan Museum of Art). 

The collections of art consist of African Art, Ancient Eastern Art, Asian Art, Egyptian Art, Drawing and Painting, and so many more that are left to explore as well as peak everyone's interest. It is also extremely unique as each collection has its own individual section so each art collection can be viewed in seventeen different parts. Although art in the gallery is considered costly, there are pieces that have never been placed on the market leaving people to wonder the actual value of the artwork.  The exact price of the art remains unknown as well as the overall museum, but some have hypothesized between $100,000,000,00- $400,000,000,000, or at least that is what Michael Botwinick (former assistant curator in chief of The Met) said after reading Michael Gross’s book, Rouges; Gallery: The Secret of the Lust, Lies, Greed, and Betrayals That Made the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Considering the size of the museum and the amount of people intake that occurs daily, the museum is easily bringing in rounds of money as the days go on. Art is not to be purchased in person and is strictly done online. Once art is purchased, the money received is given to the artist, with the exception of the museum receiving some as well. 

C. The Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution, or just simply the Smithsonian, is a group of eleven museums and galleries. These museums are primarily located in the New York and D.C. areas. They cover all types of subjects like African American history and culture, African art, Air and space, American art, American history, American Indian history, arts, industries, buildings, design, and of course, Natural History.  The United States Government created the Smithsonian on August 10, 1846, in Washington, D.C. The porous of the Smithsonian was "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge" (The Smithsonian Institution)

The Smithsonian has a substantial collection of pieces from Oceania and the pacific islanders. The total count comes to 816,201 pieces. This collection includes 855 websites, 217,382 images, 109 archives, 32 3D models, 18 exhibitions with one of them on view: eighty-seven stories, 59 videos, and 600,659 other pieces. 

For the 2021 federal funding for the fiscal year, the Smithsonian received one billion dollars from the United States, which accounts for 62% of their overall budget. The other 38% comes from non- federal funds, which includes anything from private sources. This could be donations from individuals, or corporations, and foundations, as well as memberships. They also get more from Smithsonian Enterprises' operation. This could be from magazines, catalogs, product development, entertainment, shops, restaurants, and concessions. In 2019, it was $1.047 billion, a slight increase over last fiscal year's appropriation of $1.043 billion. The Smithsonian's Salaries and Expenses (S&E) account—its operating budget—is $793.7 million, and the Facilities Capital account—for significant renovations and new construction—is $253.7 million.

The locations of these collections are all over. Two are at the Air and Space Museum. Another two are at the American History Museum. Another two are at the American Indian Museum. Three more are at the Arts and Industries Building. One is at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian c tory Museum.

Utah in Context

Utah has a large, active, and dynamic Pacific Islands diaspora, which is one of the fastest growing in the United States.  Pacific Islanders have lived continuously in Utah since the 1870s, and the population has seen a rise of nearly 70% in the last decade--more so than any other state in the country.  Furthermore, the overall proportion of Pacific Islanders in Utah exceeds that of any other state in the continental US. (sourced from provided text)  Specifically, “There are nearly 38,000 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders residing in Utah, with more than 85% living in Salt Lake County and Utah County'' (Utah Department of Health, n.d.).  The presence of this large population in the area gives this problem an outsized presence in our community and creates a unique opportunity for Lost Eden to help create change in this space

Presently, the majority of the art museums dedicated to Indigenous art in Utah have now been or will soon be closed.  Efforts to maintain collections of Indigenous art have been under-recognized and subsequently failed.  In 2019 the TP Gallery, which used to exist on downtown Salt Lake City’s Main Street, closed its doors.  In response, Cal Nez (a local Navajo artist) stated the following, “‘I don’t think there’s one [Utah] gallery that focuses specifically on high-end fine art’ made by Native Americans” (Means, 2019).  This leaves local communities further disconnected from opportunities to engage with their own art--both ancient and modern.

None of this is to say that efforts haven’t been made to engage Indigenous communities in the museum space.  The Natural History Museum of Utah hosts an annual Indian Art Market honoring and recognizing Native American artists.  This is a good first step, but it is important to acknowledge the lengths we still have to go.  The Indian Art Market has been described by its organizer as “small” (Means, 2019).  If events like this are to make a significant and long lasting impact, that smallness must make way for growth from all angles.

The Root Cause

The aims of The Gallery in Lost Eden can be summarized in one word--decolonization.  “Decolonization” is a term often referenced in the museum space, particularly in the context of collections containing (typically ill-gotten) artifacts and artwork from Indigenous populations.  In order to understand these conversations--and the aims of Lost Eden--one must have a full view of what decolonization is and can be.  Decolonization goes above and beyond ideals of diversity.  In the words of artist and curator Shaheen Kasmani, it is “the upfront challenge of white supremacy” working to de-center “the Eurocentric view” and value “narrative of that (which) has been made Other.  It dismantles systems of thoughts [that place] the straight white man as standard” (Schoenberger, 2021).  Museum decolonization, at its core, is about incorporating Indigenous people and perspectives into every layer of the process, enabling those peoples to have power in historically exploitative systems.

         Decolonization is an appropriate term for the work of Lost Eden because the problem Lost Eden seeks to solve (lack of community control over their own historical artifacts) is deeply rooted in colonization.  Historically, Indigenous communities were not prioritized in the creation and maintenance of Indigenous collections.  For example, The British Museum (which is a typical example despite its location outside of the U.S., where we hope to focus our work), which has an extensive Oceanic collection, contains a large number of objects sourced from colonial activities.  The activities do include “trade, exchange and purchase,” but, importantly, also include objects sourced through “the activity of Christian missions” and “the imposition of colonial control by armed forces.”  The objects taken during these periods were “sometimes taken as spoils of war” (The British Museum, 2019).  Likewise, western collections of Indigenous have not typically been created or maintained by individuals from Indigenous backgrounds.  Take the Peabody collection for example–the Peabody was founded by George Peabody, who was born in Massachusetts and did not have notable Oceanic heritage.  This is not unusual--many museum collections of Indigenous artifacts are created and maintained by individuals with no notable cultural connection to the collections they maintain.

Defining the work of decolonization helps us focus on specific problems stemming from colonized collections, that is, focus on the eurocentric view, ignorance towards those who have “been made other”, and lack of incorporation of Indigenous people into every layer of the process.

What is your solution?

The Solution

The problem of museums and private collections taking native art is significant because it has been taken legally or not from its rightful owners and has been making money off their work for years. The money made is not going back to the people who made it, not even a little. All of the profits go to the organization that took the art and not the person or people who created it.

When decolonizing a museum, it allows us to acknowledge the original artist and or give more attention toward the Pacific Islanders. Through doing so it brings awareness to both the people and their valued pieces as well. This movement provides opportunities and expansion for young or forgotten artists waiting for their acknowledgement. 

To further promote Indigenous art, this sort of "technique" is to be practiced. It is an important reminder of what is right and just for everyone. Because if we do not support this new way of promoting Indigenous people's art. It will not change, which would not give the people who created the works of art a chance to show it how it was meant to be shown, and the public would be able to support the people and not a large corporation.

Many collections of Indigenous and Oceanic art and artifacts are disconnected from the communities they originated in.  Interaction with these collections, especially where archives are concerned, has been primarily white and male.  The The Gallery in Lost Eden seeks to work with the institutions these collections are housed in to facilitate those missing connections between collection and community.  This work can serve to help revitalize language and create stronger community ties in those communities or origin, among other benefits.

We seek to solve the issues outlined in this paper by moving away from object based narratives and focusing more on public policy and community oriented storytelling.  Lost Eden is specifically in the business of brokering endowment reinvestments for oceanic art and material culture.  Specific remedies can include fellowships such as the HOCEF, though programs like these are in no way exhaustive.

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?

"Decolonization, however, does not mean and has not meant a total rejection of all theory of research or Western knowledge. Rather, it is about centering our concerns and world view and then coming to know and understand theory and research from our own perspectives and for our own purposes."

-Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies

Located in the heart of Salt Lake City's art district, Lost Eden Gallery ( is an independently owned gallery exclusively dedicated to north American Indigenous art. The Gallery is part of a movement to refocus this hemisphere's perspective of American West art to include the Pacific region. We are steadfast and committed to bringing Indigenous voices to the forefront of writings, interpretations, and exhibitions of Oceania (including Pacific Islands, Maori, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and West Papua) art and culture. We are dedicated to serving the public as a truthful conduit for this hemisphere's Indigenous cultures - past, present, and emerging - in all their depth and diversity. As an Indigenous arts and culture space, the Gallery is focused on creating art for non-art outcomes and experiences.

Background: Why Utah?

The Pacific Islands diaspora is one of the fastest growing in the United States, increasing 40 percent between 2000 and 2010. Although there are several Pacific diasporas in the continental US, including Washington, Oregon, California, Arkansas, Florida, and New York (among others), Utah presents an interesting window of opportunity to build an art market. Primarily due to the state’s strong connection to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and its missions in the region, the overall proportion of Pacific Islanders in Utah exceeds that of any other state in the continental US. While Pacific Islanders have lived continuously in

Utah since the 1870s, the population has seen a dramatic rise over the past decade of nearly 70%, more so than any other state in the country. Despite hosting the highest per capita population of Pacific Islanders outside of Hawai`i and Guam, the Pacific Islanders in Utah have been absent of consistent art venues to display work.

Broadly speaking, the objective of this project is to the engage a wide community with diverse perspectives and forms of art that raise awareness about the rich culture of Indigenous art – here in Salt Lake City area and beyond. More specifically, this project aims to coordinate and co-host programming for the following objectives:

• To establish a safe space to dialogue about Oceania art and its current state in diaspora

• To present Lost Eden Gallery to the Indigenous residents of Salt Lake County and the broader art community of Salt Lake City as a resource for storytelling

• To launch a series of talks, cultural events, and art activations in honor of the closing of Lost Eden’s inaugural art exhibition Culture, Containers, & Consumption by Tali Alisa Hafoka

• Opening of an Indigenous Thought Library in Lost Eden Gallery

• To announce a formal partnership with University of Utah Pacific Initiative within Lost Eden Gallery to offer Fall 2022 programming

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

Moana Palelei HoChing (Meagan Moana) will be the Principal Investigator and Senior Curator for this project. Moana Palelei HoChing serves as the Western States Art Federation’s (WESTAF) senior policy associate, a consulting role that manages key public policy and advocacy programs and provides counsel to the director of impact and public policy. HoChing contributes to WESTAF’s research and policy communications and works with its grassroots advocacy network, engaging with a range of arts and cultural policy issues through an equity lens. She currently serves as vice chair of the Zoo, Arts, and Park (ZAP) Program Tier 1 Board, where she assists in directing $14.3 million of Utah taxpayer dollars to 22 arts and cultural

nonprofits, as well as three zoos throughout the Salt Lake Valley. HoChing previously served

as the assistant director of educational outreach of the Honoring Nations program at the

Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development (HPAIED) at the Harvard

Kennedy School of Government. She is a multidisciplinary artist, technologist, and fierce

advocate for Indigenous affairs and has consulted on projects in Kenya; Waikato, Aotearoa;

New Orleans; New York; Las Vegas; Denver; and throughout Indian Country and has her own

production company, Crazyhorse Productions. HoChing is a proud alumna of the National

Pacific American Leadership Institute (NAPALI), Harvard University’s Administrative

Fellowship Program (AFP), and WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) program.

Currently Moana serves as the President of the Harvard Alumni for Oceania group and

curatorial lead at Lost Eden Gallery (

Additional Personnel:

• Secured Pacific Ambassador, University of Utah

o Pacific Ambassador Program has generously funded an fellow for the entirety

of the Fall 2021 semester serving 20 hrs/week

• Secured Arts Engagement Fellow

o Utah Arts & Humanities has generously funded an fellow for the entirety of the

Fall 2021 semester serving 20 hrs/week

• Recruited Student Program Liaison, Bennion Center University of Utah

o 4-6 hrs a week, Recruit student volunteers

• Hosting Civic Leadership Course Intro to Service Group

o A group of 2-4 students will volunteer for 20 hours each (approximately 60

hours total)

Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Our solution's stage of development:


How many people does your solution currently serve?


Why are you applying to Solve?

 Although we have many partners, The Gallery is seeking expertise in scaling, community engagement, ethical stewardship, and ensuring that our product does not deepen the digital divide that already separates so many of our community members from equitable services and access to arts. Given the pandemic, we look for funders, champions, and leaders who can assist in our sustainability of technological outputs and input without extractive practices. 

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

  • Business model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Legal or Regulatory Matters
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design, data analysis, etc.)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Moana Palelei HoChing

Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your Team Lead.

Tutuila (American Samoa)/Oceania

Is the Team Lead a resident of the United States?


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

Drive positive outcomes for Native learners of any or all ages while supporting culturally grounded educational opportunities on and/or off reservations.

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Cultural heritage and art collections represent an invaluable resource where knowledge of natural resources, the environment, history, social structures, and collective memory are embedded and embodied. Interaction with such collections can be integral to the enlivening of languages, cultural expressions, and traditional knowledges. They also offer an opportunity for Indigenous peoples to reframe, contextualize, and highlight contemporary issues for diaspora populations in educating the surrounding public. The Lost Eden Gallery seeks to provide a space to begin that process, whereas Indigenous communities can gather to contemplate colonial history, connect past knowledges, and host critical conversations focused on contemporary practices of Oceania art and its history. In creating a premium gallery exclusively for Indigenous Oceania art, the space aims to provide unique Indigenous contemporary collections that are curated and cared for by Indigenous representatives. Additionally, the gallery supplies opportunities to host cutting-edge cultural programming, educate non- Indigenous visitors and customers about Oceania art history, and (re) define the styles and techniques within Oceania art practices from an Indigenous worldview.

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

Future funding or sustainability:

Funding to support future programming will come from multiple revenue generating activities nsuch as ticket sales, gallery store merchandise (t-shirts, stickers, coffee, food etc.), and event sales. We also look to community companies and corporations who would like to co-sponsor events and/or event activities. Lost Eden Gallery already has established community and national partnership with institutions such as University of Utah School for Transformation, Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA), The Gateway, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, The BLOCKS SLC, STRT, Pasifika Film Festival (PFF), University of Utah’s Bennion Center, and the LassondInstitute at the University of Utah Business School, who are excited to see the launch and programs at the Gallery. By leaning on these networks, we plan on leverage our marketing and relevant digital platforms to target the 38,000 local Pacific Islanders in Utah, and eventually, the 1.4 million Pacific Islanders located in the continental United States.

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

Project Evaluation:

We strongly believe in creating culturally relevant programs and events. To that end, tomeasure success this project will take an Indigenous approach to assess the quantity and quality of our programming and community engagement. Our major indicator for success will therefore be ticket sales; the number of participants at our key events; voluntary satisfaction survey results from event attendees, and revenue generated from Gallery sales to support future programming.

What is your theory of change?

Our Theory of Change's Objective: To develop a wholly new gallery model and art stewardship program that is holistic and decolonized. Viable business model to eventually fund an Archive.
Located in the heart of Salt Lake City's art district, Lost Eden Gallery ( is an independently owned gallery exclusively dedicated to North American Indigenous art. The Gallery is part of a movement to refocus this hemisphere's perspective of American West art to include the Pacific region. We are steadfast and committed to bringing Indigenous voices to the forefront of writings, interpretations, and exhibitions of Oceania (including Pacific Islands, Maori, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and West Papua) art and culture. We are dedicated to serving the public as a truthful conduit for this hemisphere's Indigenous cultures - past, present, and emerging - in all their depth and diversity. As an Indigenous arts and culture space, the Gallery is focused on creating art for non-art outcomes and experiences.
At our core we are dedicated to decolonizing the arts through truth and reconciliation; the Gallery is part of a larger movement to refocus this hemisphere's perspective of American West art to include the Pacific region. We are dedicated to serving the public as a conscience and truthful conduit for this hemisphere's Indigenous cultures  - past, present, and emerging - in all their richness, depth, and diversity. 

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our solution uses two (2) main technologies to realize our desired outcomes: 

1. Google Earth Voyager

We use Google Earth Voyager as a way to map the plethora of Oceania collections spread across the US. Our first prototype to explain the long and troubled history of how the collections came to be can be found here:

2. Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) 

Quite possibly the most unique and interesting aspect of humanity, art has told countless stories of everyday life and the struggles the human race endures. Thanks to the emerging digital crypto-economy, artists of all sorts are gaining unprecedented access to becoming the owners of their works through the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) space. An NFT is a Non Fungible Token that is encrypted by a sequence of code to ensure it is a one-of-one copy. NFT’s can be applied to many things like car titles, proofs of sale, and more importantly pieces of art. We believe that through this digital economy artists from marginalized communities, more specifically indigenous people will benefit from the decentralized outlets the crypto economy provides. 

Businesses and brands alike are branching into NFTs. Hiring creatives and analytical minds to turn any given idea or piece of art into something that is worth thousands if not millions. This type of collaboration is just one part of what brands and companies want to have in their markets. Companies and people are doing what they can to be a part of the NFT metaverse for several reasons, including the fact that this type of digital asset is the next step in redefining how brands do business and make a profit. For individuals, that are consumers of these brands, that are also not directly associated with these major companies, this is another side of investments that does not require them to spend a lot of money. NFTs allow for more engagement, exposure, and understanding of who these individuals are. Giving the ability to show your art, in the lens that you choose to a mass market is key for any type of art being understood and recognized in the respective lens. As people are branching into how to create these NFTs their respective art is redefining how art is perceived and seen, allowing for marginalized communities to share their history through art, words, and any unfiltered lens. 

Throughout history, art has always been a part of our lives. Whether that be through stories told on clay pottery, painting on a canvas, or taking a picture on a camera and uploading it to any platform. We can always see art. Art follows the trend of creation, how it is shown is dependent on what creative outlet is trending. In recent years we have seen that digital art is at the forefront of this trend, within that are NFTs. This does not mean that NFTs are a new art medium, it simply means that they are a way to trade and show art in a way that is on-trend and major. Artists around the world are turning their art into a digital piece that people can buy the rights to and original of. Photographers are making their photos into something more than just a point-and-shoot image, they are redesigning the way those images are perceived. Jacob Riglin (@Jacob on Instagram) created the first-ever on-chain generative photography NFT project that utilizes 1111 images, he also has created an NFT course to educate the average viewer on what an NFT is and how to utilize them in their own art. That is one example of how the art market is growing and changing. This concept is still relatively new, it has yet to be fully utilized by anyone, which makes it the perfect outlet for those who are often left out of conversations regarding art. NFTs are the next step to revolutionizing the art world, they allow for marginalized peoples to show the art that was once lost or colonized, in a light that is unique to them. Many tech and art giants agree that NFTs will bring “transparency into the art world” (Smee) which is a key in allowing people to show art that is not rooted in the systems that previously hurt them and their histories/art. 

There are many hurdles that indigenous people encounter within the art market. Stemming from a system deeply rooted in colonization, non-fungible tokens are capable of breaking down some of these barriers. Not only due to it opening up an entirely new market but also because of its accessibility. Virgil Abloh made use of NFTs in his digital design community “Skyscraper”. Which promoted a space for tangible and digital artworks engaging with artists of various mediums. Although the space is curated, the curatorial board strived to, “ be a spectrum of subversive thinkers that will source, nurture and amplify global artistic talent; with their expertises encompassing the arts, culture, technology and business.” By making the space available online, understated artists are within closer reach to be promoted globally. Emphasizing that this is an important opportunity for the indigenous peoples, who have been marginalized within the art society. 

The utilization of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will not only result in immense pride for underrepresented people of color but is also capable of driving social change. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) organized fundraising to provide internet access to schools by launching an NFT collection. The fact of the matter is that technology is constantly evolving and opens up countless opportunities. UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore recognized this by stating, “For 75 years, UNICEF has been a driving force for change in children’s lives. And as we look back at our history, we must also look forward and seize every opportunity to take innovative actions to secure the future for our children, we have to use every tool in the toolbox if we are to reach more children and invest in a better world – including through new ways of fundraising and financing – and the launch of UNICEF’s first global collection of data-driven digital tokens will directly support our global efforts to close the digital divide and help give every young person access to the Internet.” This example inspires others to pursue this direction of fundraising, a method that could be utilized by indigenous communities. This approach won’t only address their issues but also make significant progress in the long run. 

 While listening to the podcast Time To Say Goodbye crypto expert MacAurthur Alex talks about the future benefits regular people face in the crypto economy. Alex calls the crypto world “A (horizontal) mesh network that has no intermediary forces taking percents from people.” This is further explained when he mentions that the late rapper Nipsey Hustle was a big proprietor for decentralized currency for the black community. Because African-Americans have been marginalized in the U.S. Hustle believed that building wealth and owning digital real estate was a huge way that underrepresented people could build up their portfolios without facing systemic roadblocks that traditional income-based wealth faces. In regards to NFTs and Indigenous people, the dame applies. Before modern times they have been pushed out and have had to fight huge battles just to begin to get their art and money into the digital world. With the technology becoming more accessible for all people, decentralizing art would allow indigenous artists to put their work out into the world and own their work through the NFT blockchain technology. Due to the heavily encrypted nature of the blockchain code, thievery of their art would be very unlikely.

Non-fungible tokens can be difficult to understand especially if one isn’t up to date with e-commerce. On top of this, there is difficulty in forming an attachment to something that is intangible. Yet turning a blind eye to it would be wrong, the marketplace is expanding and is gradually becoming even more significant. In addition, as time progresses we find different ways the tokens can be utilized. Establishing an indigenous presence in the growing commerce is significant because of the control that artists have over their royalties, the ability to promote authentic representation, global accessibility, and the potential to aid their communities.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

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

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

  • 4. Quality Education
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  • 13. Climate Action
  • 14. Life Below Water
  • 16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • United States

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

  • Samoa
  • United States
  • Guam

In which states do you currently operate?

  • Utah

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

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Massachusetts
  • Utah
  • Washington
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?

1 Full time, 6 student interns,

How long have you been working on your solution?

2019. We have been working on our solution since December of 2019.

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

Studying Social Science with a field of study in Government, coupled with my research while at the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, gave me significant experience working at the local, state, tribal, and federal levels of government to help improve the lives of US citizens. 

My past work also includes innovative, data driven, and human-centered designs focused on citizen engagement with partners such as the Kennedy Center, Google Cultural Institute, Utah Museums of Fine Arts (UMFA), Google Earth, and Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC). As a designer and organizer I am interested in bridging the divide between technology and disenfranchised communities, especially Indigenous populations.

This work has deeply influenced the nature and persona of our art and storytelling space. Like that of Solve’s core values of optimismpartnershipopen innovationhuman-centered solutions, and inclusive technology, our work is committed to upholding the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and are committed to anti-racism in all the work we do.

I believe my experience and dedication to public service will be an asset to the hard work that you do every day to build, inform, and engage communities. As one of the oldest museums in the world dedicated to anthropology, the study of ancient and contemporary peoples and cultures, the Peabody Museum is a leader in art and culture in this country. I have grown familiar with the initiatives Peabody Museum has established for ongoing relationships with Indigenous communities and the ethical stewardship of collections. My personal goals and passions center on making the arts more equitable and accessible for all. With my community ties and local knowledge, I am confident I can be an asset to your office and its mission to include marginalized voices, protect art and culture, and build healthy communities. As someone who proudly resides in the same neighborhood that I grew up in, I welcome the challenge of building opportunities for my hometown community and underrepresented artists. I commit my life's purpose to public service and serving my community. I can’t imagine a better opportunity than MIT Solve's community to implement these values and core objectives. 

Solution Team

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