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How to Support Indigenous Communities on Social Media Year-round


By Katherine Bahena-Benitez

Updated on June 8, 2022

7 minute read

Acknowledging Indigenous Peoples Day on social media is a great first step, but it shouldn’t end there. 

Published June 8, 2022

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​​Indigenous History Month is a time for healing, reflection, education, and celebration.

It calls for recognizing the harsh realities that Indigenous communities have experienced — both past and present — while celebrating the vast diversity of Indigenous cultures, traditions, and languages. 

For brands, it marks the opportunity to amplify Indigenous voices, support Indigenous-owned businesses and non-profits, or advocate for change. 

We asked Katherine Bahena-Benitez — an Indigenous actor, writer, dancer, and advocate — to share their tips for supporting Indigenous voices and brands on social media, this month and beyond.

What Is Indigenous History Month? 

In Canada, Indigenous History Month is celebrated in June, with Indigenous Peoples Day specifically acknowledged on June 21. 

According to the Government of Canada, it is a time to “recognize the rich history, heritage, resilience, and diversity of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples across Canada.”

In the United States, Native American Heritage Month, also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, is recognized in November. And Indigenous Peoples Day is observed by a few states in October. 

A Brief History Lesson

In history class, Christopher Columbus is often described as the person who “discovered” America — ignoring the fact that there were already Native and Indigenous Peoples inhabiting the lands. 

Following his “discovery,” Native and Indigenous Peoples experienced mass violence, displacement, and genocide. 

It was a turn of events that has affected Indigenous communities to this day — from being forbidden to practice their traditions to the horrors of the residential school system. 

Indigenous History Month gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the history, celebrate the diversity, and advocate for the future of Indigenous communities and culture. 

PSA: Later offers a 50% discount to all qualified non-profit organizations on paid plans, and a 100% discount off our Growth plan for non-profits fighting racism. Get all the details and apply here.

The Importance of Acknowledging Indigenous History Month on Social Media

Social media is a powerful resource to educate (and be educated), inspire, and raise awareness. 

Personally, I’ve had the gift of learning about my own Indigenous roots, community, and ancestral medicine through social media. 

It’s become a place for me to find my voice, share my art, and express parts of my identity as a gay femme.

I’ve been able to connect with relatives, elders, and those in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community too. 

For brands, social media offers an opportunity to learn from Indigenous Peoples and to take it a step further — to uplift and support their voices. 

However, it takes more than a one-off social media post to support Indigenous creators and businesses. 

You can work with them on campaigns (beyond June and November), include them on your event speaker rosters, or encourage your employees to volunteer with local non-profits.

How to Support Indigenous Communities on Social Media 

Acknowledging Indigenous History Month (and Indigenous Peoples Day) on social media is a great first step, but it shouldn’t end there. 

Here are four ways to continue that support year-round:

  1. Unlearn and Learn Again

  2. Support Indigenous-owned Businesses and Organizations

  3. Amplify Indigenous Creatives, Artists, and Creators 

  4. Advocate for Change

#1: Unlearn and Learn Again

Indigenous communities are not a monolith. Unfortunately, many history books fail to address this and the diversity of traditions, cultures, and languages.

So, we have some unlearning and learning to do.

Here are a few resources to get started: 

Watch

Read

Listen

Discover

#2: Support Indigenous-owned Businesses and Organizations

Indigenous Peoples carry an insurmountable amount of knowledge on conservation, sustainable food practices, climate change, and more.

By supporting Indigenous-owned businesses and organizations, you are supporting the livelihood of us all — present and future. 

Here are three ways you can support Indigenous-owned businesses on social media: 

  1. Share their work and promote their business on your social channels.

  2. Collaborate with them — whether it’s brand partnerships, exclusive products, or series content.

  3. Invite Indigenous founders to speak on virtual panels, webinars, etc. 

TIP: When partnering with a business or inviting a founder to speak at an event, remember to pay them for their time and expertise. 

#3: Amplify Indigenous Creatives, Artists, and Creators 

Brands and individuals alike can amplify the voices of Indigenous creatives, artists, and creators on social media. 

Featured posts, Instagram Stories takeovers, and Instagram Lives are great for fostering awareness and passing the mic.

There are so many Indigenous voices you can learn from, work with, and support. Here are a few: 

  • Indigenous Cultures Institute — A community organization dedicated to “preserving Indigenous cultures and maintaining our covenant with sacred sites.”

  • Jeffrey Gibson — An artist whose work has been featured across North America and abroad.  

  • Josie Valadez FraireA creator, storyteller, and writer who shares knowledge about plant medicine, ancestral recipes, and more. 

  • Kara Roselle Smith — A writer, model, and activist who uses her platform to talk about wellness, race, the environment, and more. 

  • Indigenous Enterprise LLC  — A dance troupe established in 2015 who’s comprised of talented dancers and singers from various parts of the US. 

  • Mia Ohki — A Métis-Japanese-Canadian artist who’s been published in various outlets.

  • Shayla Oulette Stonechild — A founder, creator, and yoga instructor who amplifies Indigenous voices.

  • Charlie Amáyá Scott — An Indigenous creative and trans-femme who frequently advocates for the trans community and joy. 

  • Aïcha Bastien-N’Diaye — A dance artist and content creator who amplifies the need for representation year-round.

TIP: Research local creatives in your city and allocate some of your marketing budget to partnering with them on a campaign.

#4: Advocate for Change

If you’re unsure where to start, check out the work of Land Rights Now. It is a human rights NGO that campaigns to secure community and Indigenous land rights everywhere.

You can also get involved with local organizations and initiatives — is there an opportunity for your business to donate your time, expertise, or monetary funds? 

For a list of organizations to support, check out this list: 15 Indigenous Human Rights Organizations to Follow.

Your support is needed, appreciated, and encouraged.

Supporting Indigenous Peoples on social media (and elsewhere) is a lifelong journey, but even the smallest of changes, when multiplied, can make a big difference. 

A quick reminder: Indigenous Peoples are here, have always been here, and will continue to be here. May we honor them always.

FYI: Later is a social media scheduling platform trusted by 4M+ brands and creators. Plan your posts in advance and publish them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn — for free.

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