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Gonzaga professor, member of Spokane Tribe named editor of new journal exploring Indigenous business issues

Gonzaga University's College Hall is seen in this September 2016 photo.  (DAN PELLE)
Gonzaga University's College Hall is seen in this September 2016 photo. (DAN PELLE)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

A professor at Gonzaga University is one of three editors of the new Indigenous Business and Public Administration Journal designed to focus on Native American business issues and public initiatives.

Daniel Stewart, an enrolled member of the Spokane Tribe who grew up in Spokane Valley, has been a business professor since graduating from Stanford University in 2002. He got his start at Washington State University, then came to Gonzaga in 2006.

Stewart is currently the university’s professor of entrepreneurship and director of the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program.

Stewart said he first became interested in starting a journal years ago when he had difficulty finding academic journals willing to publish his articles that focused on Native American business.

Instead he was encouraged to study more mainstream topics in order to be published in “highly visible” academic journals.

“Trying to meet the publication requirements to get tenure is difficult,” he said. “It didn’t seem like mainstream journals were very interested in what I wanted to do.”

But it finally seemed like the time was right to start the journal that Stewart had been considering and discussing for years.

Stewart wrote a proposal and approached his dean, who was enthusiastic about Gonzaga being involved in the new journal. He partnered with fellow professors Deanna Kennedy at the University of Washington and Joseph Gladstone of Washington State University to edit the journal. They are also tribal members. Writers who submit articles to the new journal do not have to be.

“Our target audience is academics,” Stewart said.

The goal of the journal is to create progress in the development of Native American academic theory in the fields of business and public administration. There has been a lack of business professors who publish research about Native American issues, and Stewart hopes the journal will make that easier.

There are a couple academic journals devoted to Native American studies, but nothing focusing on Native American business. While Stewart has been able to find success in publishing his articles, he knows there are still barriers.

“Behind me I still had colleagues with the same issues,” he said. “This is our solution to the problem. We make our own.”

The journal fits in at Gonzaga because the university offers a master of business administration degree in American Indian Entrepreneurship, Stewart said. Those who sign up for the program have to be an enrolled member of a tribe.

“It’s the only program of its kind I’m aware of in the country,” he said. “We’re the only program that focuses on Native American business. What better place to have a journal?”

Native American businesses are unique, particularly if they operate on tribal land, Stewart said. There could be additional taxation and land ownership issues that small businesses off the reservations don’t have to account for.

“Tribes can have their own business codes,” he said. “There’s a bunch of unique, contextual things.”

The journal, which is a peer-reviewed, digital free access journal, is on a shoestring budget, Stewart said. It’s not expected to be a money-maker.

“It’s a mission,” he said. “Our mission is to create and affect change.”

There’s currently a mini-issue available at ibapa.org and the journal has put out a call for papers for the next issue. The deadline is December, but Stewart said he hopes to attract the interest of writers who have already been working on an article and might be almost finished.

“That’s a short amount of time to write an article, especially in the academic world,” he said. “Some articles take years to write.”

Stewart said he hopes the journal will publish once or twice a year. Information about submitting an article is available on the journal’s website.

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