Rebecca Adamson

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Rebecca Adamson
Born 1950 (age 66–67)
Akron, Ohio, United States
Nationality American Cherokee
Occupation Businesswoman, advocate
Known for Founding First Peoples Worldwide

Rebecca Adamson (born 1950)[1] is an American Cherokee businessperson and advocate. She is former director, former president, and founder of First Nations Development Institute and the founder of First Peoples Worldwide.[2]


Born in Akron, Ohio, to a Swedish American father and a Cherokee mother, Adamson grew up in Akron and spent summers with her Cherokee grandmother in North Carolina, where she learned about the history and culture of her Cherokee people.[3] She holds a master of science in economic development from the Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire, where she teaches a graduate course on indigenous economics.[2]

Her work led to the first microloan fund in the United States associated with a reservation, the first tribal investment model. This was a national movement for reservation land reform, and legislation on federal trust responsibility for Native Americans.[2]

Adamson's international work created the Lumba Aboriginal Community Foundation in Australia. It enabled the Sans Tribe to secure its traditional homelands in Botswana, Namibia, and southern Africa. She launched a strategy (that includes Alcoa, Texaco, Rio Tinto, Merck, Ford, and Occidental) with investment criteria that protect the rights of indigenous peoples and has been adopted by a mutual fund, an index fund, and investment advisors.[2]

She established a scholarship program for native persons at the Yale School of Organization and Management and at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. She convinced the World Bank to create the First Global Indigenous Peoples' Facility Fund to make small building grants.[2]

Adamson serves on the board of directors for the Calvert Social Investment Fund and the Calvert Small Cap Fund which are known for socially-responsible investing and co-founded a fund there. She is on the board and trustee for Tom's of Maine, Inc. She is on the boards of Corporation for Enterprise Development, The Bay Foundation, Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation, The Bridgespan Group, and First Voice International. She is a founding member of Native Americans in Philanthropy, Funders Who Fund Native Americans, and International Funders for Indigenous Peoples.[2]

Ms. magazine named her one of their seven "Women of the Year" in 1997. She writes a monthly column for Indian Country Today newspaper.[2]


  • "Can't Give It Away Fast Enough? Try This," Foundation News & Commentary, January/February 1998
  • "Adapting the Evaluation Process to the Organizational Culture," a chapter in Evaluation with Power, 1997
  • "The Native American Credit Market: Opportunity Knocks, but Relationships Stay," RMA's Journal of Lending & Credit Risk Management, Fall 1997

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Biography Center". National Women's History Project. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Dartmouth Honorary Degrees 2004:Rebecca L. Adamson". Dartmouth News. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  3. ^ Johansen, Bruce E. (2010). Native Americans today : a biographical dictionary. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood Press. pp. 4–7. ISBN 978-0-313-35554-7.