American Indian College Fund: This Is Indian Country


New visibility campaign urges Americans to stop ignoring Indigenous people

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Launched during Native American Heritage Month in November 2021, “This Is Indian Country” is a new visibility campaign by the American Indian College Fund designed to increase awareness of and conversation about Indigenous people and issues especially at a time when Native people are still not seen and heard by most Americans.

“Indian Country” is an official legal term, noted in numerous Supreme Court opinions and referenced in multiple areas of federal law. The term has been used in treaties, policies, and laws that ordered Indigenous assimilation and erasure. Yet, Indian Country is more than just a legal phrase. Indian Country is in the words we speak on reservations and the stories Native people tell. It is in community. It is empowerment. This term may have been used against Native people, but it has been reclaimed.

Over the years, for each College Fund campaign, W+K has made use of its relationships with generous media partners and legendary artists to produce sophisticated, cutting-edge advertising on a pro-bono budget. For “This Is Indian Country” W+K tapped television and film director Joe Pytka, who has played a pivotal role in the College Fund’s advertising campaigns for several decades. The film “Democracy, Indian Country” was also co-directed by Indigenous filmmaker Robin Máxkii (Mohican), a Wieden+Kennedy copywriter who worked on the campaign, alongside Wieden+Kennedy art director Samantha Perry.

“We wanted to create something simple, provocative, and above all, empowering, which meant avoiding stereotypes that often exploit Indigenous pain, reduce cultures to background production design, or wield dehumanizing slogans. We are over begging people to acknowledge Natives as people. There is such a power in laying it out boldly with no ambiguity. These are Indigenous words. This is Indigenous truth,” explained creatives Robin Máxkii and Samantha Perry.

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“This Is Indian Country” was created to ensure Americans think about Indigenous people every time they talk about them. A website, series of films, social, print, and out-of-home public service announcements are geared to educate, inspire, and acknowledge people nationwide, including the American history, cities and monuments that depended on Indigenous people’s contributions.

You can support the movement for Indigenous recognition, representation, and equity by using resources and materials available at

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