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New App Connects Users To Native Businesses

Change Labs
Change Labs
Heather Fleming (second from right), executive director of Change Labs, came up with the idea for Rez Rising, an app that connects people with Native-owned businesses.

A new app connects Native-owned businesses with consumers.

A 2012 study conducted by the Navajo Nation estimates $216 million in sales tax revenue is lost each year to towns bordering the reservation. Many Navajo business owners struggle with establishing a storefront or online presence.

The Rez Risingapp, developed by Change Labs, seeks to address the problem. Singer Horse Capture, a Native America Program associate at Grand Canyon Trust, led the research for the app.

"Rez Rising could be a really great resource for tourists who are driving across Navajo to Monument Valley or going to the Grand Canyon," Horse Capture said. "Instead of stopping at McDonald's, you can go to the app and search, see what food stands are open along the road at that time."

Users can search by location, item or business name. The app features more than 500 (mostly Navajo) Native-made goods and services — everything from jewelry and tour guides to public relations firms and mechanics.

Laurel Morales was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2011 to 2020.