NEW YORK: A group of Indigenous PR pros have launched the first Indigenous Peoples PR Association, said Candace Hamana, owner of Badger PR, at a Thursday night Native American History Month event held by the Museum of PR.
The board members of the association include Hamana, who is a Hopi member of the Badger clan; Collin Price, owner of B-Team strategy and public relations officer of the Ho-Chuck Nation; Taya Enos, former marketing manager of the Gila River Indian Casinos; and Melody Lewis, owner of Indigenous Community Collaborative.
The association will be guided by an advisory committee that includes Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today; Ricki McCaroll, founder and CEO of Nuna Consulting; and April Tinhorn, owner of Tinhorn Consulting.
The association hopes to include member benefits such as webinars, training, online certification programs that include tribal stakeholder relations and traditional PR methods for communicating to and for Indigenous communities. It also hopes to host an annual Indigenous PR conference and aims to identify and mentor the next generation of Indigenous communications professionals.
Price, who sits on the board, previously held an Indigenous conference in 2019 and will lead the initiative for the association.
"This has been a long time coming, and it will help connect American Indian and Alaska native communications professionals across Indian country," Hamana said. "We hope to develop highly qualified, motivated, energetic individuals that would create a pool of candidates for internship opportunities and help them explore career paths that are part of tribal communications."
"For our community, it is time that we make our presence known and corporations and organizations across the country will soon hear from our collective Indigenous voices," she continued.
The announcement was part of a Museum of PR event about the growing role of Indigenous people in public relations. During the event, two panels were held in which panelists discussed how to reclaim the Indigenous narrative, honor Indigenous people and dispel myths as well as how to attract more Indigenous people to PR professions.
Examples discussed for changing the Indigenous narrative include understanding and explaining the nuance of each tribe's culture and their individuality, clarifying and fact-checking Indigenous history and avoiding symbols that stereotype Indigenous people such as tomahawks and headdresses or face paint.