The powerful stories that connect Indigenous and First Nations communities

Connected in our Stories Artwork

Today Adobe celebrates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a UNESCO-sponsored recognition of the nearly 500 million people who, like me, descended from Indigenous inhabitants of many countries around the world.

Indigenous and First Nations people often work hard to maintain the unique social, cultural, linguistic, and spiritual traditions of their ancestors, keeping alive the rich Indigenous cultures and a vital connection to the past. This is why it’s important for all of us to listen to their stories, which have the power to touch us all.

A deep sense of identity

Today represents a fresh opportunity to look at where we are and think about how we can help celebrate, support, and bring our communities together. One way is by increasing representation -- and I'm excited to act as a mentor to inspire Indigenous and First Nations youth to pursue careers in STEM, as well as serve on the board for the American Indian Library Association.

Last year, I had the opportunity to share my story during Adobe For All Week, Adobe's annual internal diversity & inclusion event. I shared stories about my family and how I have come to understand more about and embrace my identity as a member of the Shawnee tribe. I also shared that one of my goals is to learn Shawnee, which in addition to connecting me to my ancestors and heritage, represents resilience. Language revitalization is critical in supporting our traditional ways. As I learn Shawnee with my mother and relatives and try to teach it to my own son, it helps to bring our entire family and community together.

Connected in our stories

Indigenous/First Nations at Adobe (IFNA) is Adobe’s newest Employee Network, founded last year to focus on enabling, empowering, and connecting Indigenous and First Nations people and allies. This growing community aims to increase awareness and advocacy, recruit and retain talent, amplify voices, and celebrate the heritage of Indigenous and First Nations people around the world.

To honor today’s observance, IFNA has organized Connected in Our Stories, a virtual event for employees that brings together IFNA leaders, performers, storytellers, and allies as we celebrate the contributions of Indigenous and First Nations communities around the world.

Performers will include traditional hoop dance artist Notorious Cree and members of the Intertribal Friendship House. We’ll also hear from IFNA leaders about the latest on Adobe’s Reconciliation Action Plan which is Adobe Australia's commitment to acknowledging the past, working to close the gaps in education, and empowering the voice and creativity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

We’re also helping to raise awareness by supporting the work of Indigenous creators. One such creator is Mylo Fowler, a Navajo photographer whose life and work are dedicated to the exploration of beauty and light, particularly in the ancestral lands of the Navajo people. His images provide an entry point for numerous efforts to improve the quality of life for the people of his community. He has also worked to provide clean drinking water, install solar panels on homes on his reservation, and, in the near future, bring internet access to rural areas in the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, Adobe will showcase an Indigenous artist and their creations across social media channels.

Together, we’re exploring how storytelling expresses connections between land and people, how acknowledgment of the past paves the way to the future, and what actions Adobe employees can take to support IFNA’s mission.

Supporting Indigenous and First Nations communities

Many of Adobe’s offices are built on land* that was originally the home of Indigenous and First Nations people. For example, our San Jose, CA headquarters is built on Tamien Nation, Ohlone, and Muwekma lands; our Lehi, UT office built on Ute lands; our Ottawa, Canada office built on Algonquin, Mohawk and Anishimabewaki lands; and our Sydney, Australia office stands on Gadigal land. We must recognize that connection by supporting today’s living descendants of those people.

In honor of today’s observance, Adobe has made donations to three charities including Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women in the US, Downie-Wenjack Foundation in Canada, and Sharing Stories Foundation in Australia. These non-profit organizations were selected by IFNA members to support Indigenous and First Nations communities around the world. All donations made to these organizations by regular full-time employees are being matched 100 percent by Adobe.

In addition, as part of the Adobe Equity & Advancement Initiative (EAI), IFNA has formed a partnership with the First Nations Development Institute to assist Native American communities and Native nonprofits with economic development.

Thank you to all of the passionate IFNA members and allies who have helped to develop and execute these programs. I’m proud and grateful for all the hard work you’ve done to build this powerful platform and make it possible to celebrate Indigenous and First Nations communities with such love, compassion, and generosity.

*Footnote: The Indigenous and First Nations land can be found on Native Digital Land: