Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we profile a noteworthy business pioneer and ask each 5 questions. This week we talk to trailblazer, Muriel Young Bear, Consultant at Bear Cub Consulting, LLC.
Tell us about your Company
My traditional name is Mekw iid (Me’qu’ish), or Bear Head. I am a Bear Clan member of the Meskwaki Tribe in Tama, Iowa, Haskell Indian Nations Alumni, current board member of the Planted Association of Kansas, and Iowa Hemp Association board member.
I specialize in Economic development and diversification in Indian communities. I started my company to contribute my business background to Tribal Nations, specifically. I founded Bear Cub Consulting in 2017, where I work specifically with tribal communities to diversify Tribal operations, investments into the emerging Hemp industry. I also work in tribal entrepreneurship & small business development for tribal members. I am passionate about the sustainable use of land and resources, as well as strengthening sovereignty for all tribal nations and local economies. I began studying Hemp markets, supply chains, and business models as a graduate student at the University of Kansas in 2016, finding ways to apply them to Indian Country.
Historically, Indian tribes had a close relationship with this plant, specifically fiber. Hempstead Project Heart, founded by John Trudell and managed by Tribal Hemp advocate Marc Grignon, has uncovered historical Hemp artifacts such as Traditional twine bags, prisoner hand ties, fabrics for our bandolier bags and our bow strings. Our relationship with the Low THC fiber plant, is apart of our traditional history. I am excited to see this industry happen in Indian Country!
I am also an advocate for local, organic food systems, slow food, and food sovereignty. This Hemp seed is a perfect superfood and is highly nutritious. With food items such as hemp meal, hemp milk, hemp seed, and hemp flour, this is one of my PERSONAL favorite usages of the Hemp plant. It is also how I found Industrial Hemp!
I strongly believe this plant is MORE apart of our culture than we realized, or simply forgot. I want our tribal governments to be confident with economic diversification into this industry, it is in tune with our beliefs about sustainability. Along with the incredible history we have with the plant, the environmental benefits far exceed what we are invested in today! I would love to see us move away from fossil fuels, tobacco, timber and grow sustainable and renewable resources like Hemp!
What change will your firm address in the industry? Does it address an unmet need?
I am looking for partnerships, between states, tribes, and farmers to create a strong domestic supply chain for future generations. Right now, we all are aware of the lack of infrastructure in the US, and I know tribes can provide capital, as well as tax incentives and vast amounts of land for large-scale products like fiber and seed. Now that “And tribes” has been included into the revised 2019 Farm Bill, the possibilities are only the limits of our imagination.
Industrial usages in fiber and seed constitute 90% of its overall potential, versus CBD Flower. When I think of HEMP, I think of the Hemp American Flag. I think of Henry Fords’ Model T reinforced with hemp fiber, and the Hemp oil it ran on. I think of the FIRST Levi Strauss hemp Jean! I am highly interested in other areas of the Industrial Hemp market and I would like to see tribal councils start investing in the domestic supply chain, on tribal lands. Diversify our business investments into something more sustainable and renewable. Which aligns with our belief as caretakers of the earth.
What has been the reaction to your product/service/technology?
I provided education and advocacy for the last 2 years in illegal midwest states. Ever since I launched my “Hemp is the way” social media awareness campaign in 2016, I have received such an AMAZING response from both Tribal Members, Tribal Councils, and Hemp Industry leaders alike! I have been invited to discuss Tribal Economics and how we would diversity into Industrial Hemp on several occasions. I feel many people would love to see tribal economies thrive, as a way to strengthen sovereignty.
Are there any upcoming milestones for your company?
I will be attending at the 2nd annual Tribal Green symposium, in Las Vegas. Feb. 19-20 at the Paiute Golf Resort. This will be the FIRST chance tribal leaders will be able to take investments seriously, with the support of the Farm Bill. Excited to consult with attendees.
I am also currently a CSA (community supported agriculture) coordinator at a local, organic Kansas farm. 50 acres USDA certified organic. We are applying for my FIRST license to grow Industrial Hemp. This is my first year with the plant in the ground, It has been a long road, but now the real work begins! Stay tuned for updates
Where can readers learn more?
Please visit my facebook or LinkedIn page, all my upcoming projects will be available as we enter the 2019 growing season.
Ke ti’ bi – Thank you