Native American Board Diversity, Additional Stats and Further Reading

“Native Americans are largely absent from corporate leadership… 

There are some 4,000 companies traded on Wall Street through the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ. Each of them has professional board members who are responsible for corporate governance. The number of American Indians and Alaska Natives represented on those boards is far less than one-tenth of 1%.” Source

Today we’re diving into the statistics that we have on Native American diversity in US-based businesses.

National Statistics

  • In 2020, the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population (3.7 million) accounted for 1.1% of all people living in the United States, compared with 0.9% (2.9 million) in 2010.
  • An additional 5.9 million people identified as American Indian and Alaska Native and another race group in 2020, such as White or Black or African American. Together, the American Indian and Alaska Native alone or in combination population comprised 9.7 million people (2.9% of the total population) in 2020, up from 5.2 million (1.7%) in 2010.

EEOC Statistics (Employed at Private Companies) 2021

  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone was 0.6% of total employees (they don’t break out share included in Two or More Races – more on the issues with this below)

Our Data:

S&P 500

  • Only 5 S&P 500 companies have an indigenous board member
  • This means, that 5 individuals who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native (including 1 that also identifies as white) are on S&P 500 boards OUT OF 5,537 total board members
  • Some quick back-of-the-napkin math reveals this to be .09%

The five board members are the following: 

  • Kathy H. Hannan – Otis Worldwide
  • Helvi K. Sandvik – Alaska Air
  • Frank M. Semple – Marathon Petroleum
  • Tobi M. Edwards Young – Halliburton
  • Kenneth C. Hicks (white and American Indian) – Avery Dennison

Russell 1000

  • Only 12 Russell 1000 companies (note there are 991 companies currently in the Russell 1000) have an indigenous board member
  • Only 10 individuals who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native (including 1 who also identifies as white and 1 who also identifies as Filipina) are on Russell 1000 boards OUT OF 10,313 directors
  • This lands again around .09%

So, including the 5 members from the S&P 500, plus the following: 

  • Richard A. Baldridge – Viasat
  • Kimberly S. Grant – Performance Food Group
  • Jeff C. Kinneeveauk – Idacorp
  • Jon A. Marshall – Southwestern Energy
  • Di-Ann Eisnor (Filipina/American Indian) – SAIA

Additional Stats

  • Only 1 indigenous person (Kathy Hopinkah Hannan) is on multiple Russell 1000 boards – Annaly Capital Management, Ginkgo Bioworks, and Otis Worldwide
  • Only 2 other indigenous people have been on boards since the end of 2016
  • Matthew Coon Come was on the board of Newmont Corp. (S&P 500) until 2022
  • Stephen R. Rusmisel was on the board of Life Storage (Russell 1000 until July 2023, bought by Extra Space Storage)

Further Reading: 

Taking a step back from corporate disclosure, and considering Native American diversity of the US at large, a reporting problem presents itself: Native Americans are more likely than any other group to identify as two or more races. 

“This is problematic because government agencies and non-governmental researchers often choose to aggregate all multiracial individuals into a single “two-or-more-races” category. When that happens, it removes a majority of Native Americans and lumps them into a catch-all category with groups that have significantly different backgrounds and life experiences.”

Read more here:

Why the federal government needs to change how it collects data on Native Americans

Need human capital data for your planning?