“2022 will mark the beginning of a decade of reconciliation with, and progress for, Indigenous peoples across the continent,” shared Stephanie Craig of Kith and Tessa Danelesko of Yulu PR. “What needs to be done to address historic wrongs and modern hurdles cannot be accomplished in one year, but significant headway in 2022 is our hope and responsibility."
Indigenous peoples have and continue to be disproportionately underserved in North America. In Canada, Indigenous peoples are confronted with the unjust reality of slow public policy implementation, denial of child welfare, and gender-based violence due to systemic causes. In the United States, where 25% of those identifying as Indigenous live in poverty, Indigenous peoples are deprived of reasonable funding and protection by the federal government and struggle against discriminatory policies that diminish tribal land rights, ownership, and protection.
But despite being historically overlooked, the marketplace is recognizing this neglected population group and support for Indigenous peoples is gaining momentum.
Three agencies from the Purpose Collaborative are targeting this problem in creative ways, demonstrating issue, strategy, and execution insights in their approaches. With perspectives from Canada and the United States, their work reflects the societal needs and significance of Indigenous peoples left underserved.
Public Inc. developed Charter for Change, Hudson’s Bay’s $30 million, 10-year commitment to advance racial equity in Canada. Public Inc. created the platform strategy and social impact campaign, reconciling Hudson’s Bay’s past with Indigenous, black, and people of color through a racial justice and equity strategy. The campaign consisted of video production, digital and social assets, in-store creative, support from diverse Canadian music groups, and more.
“The company is on an incredibly brave and challenging journey to reconcile their past and make a big impact on the future of the country,” added Phillip Haid of Public Inc. “It’s an exciting time and they deserve credit for tackling this issue.”
Yulu PR helped launch the Audible Indigenous Writers’ Circle, a six-month mentorship and workshop program for emerging First Nations, Métis, and Inuit writers. Yulu PR explored the social challenges of the Indigenous communities in Canada and connected with Audible members globally to activate the community to be more inclusive of Indigenous voices. Working in partnership with Indigenous groups throughout the project, Audible and Yulu PR’s commitment fostered the skills of 15 writers, leading to three confirmed book deals and two participants being signed to agents in the inaugural year.
"It was of primary importance to have First Nations, Inuit and Métis folx lead on all aspects of the program, to ensure that the program was equitable, safe and culturally relevant,” shared Danelesko. “We all have the responsibility to create space for Indigenous leadership – this is how we will collectively decolonize."
Kith is working with a sovereign tribal nation in the U.S. to develop a campaign around domestic violence among Indigenous communities. The campaign includes the promotion of local efforts to proactively address the causes and effects of domestic violence in Indigenous communities. It is hoped that the local activation will be a model for other Indigenous communities to follow.
Indigenous peoples have been historically overlooked and exploited. As we enter the new year, we call for more organizations to look within Indigenous communities, at the people and cultural heritage left underserved, and task you with the responsibility to uplift these voices and their autonomy. Will you answer this call?