No one likes to be stereotyped. Indigenous people in Canada have historically had to put up with racist imagery that doesn’t represent their full cultural spectrum as unique and varied nations. After decades of nurturing relationships with Indigenous partners, we know the importance of checking in and asking questions about how we illustrate those partnerships.
As we prepared to celebrate Indigenous History Month, we consulted with our Indigenous associates, and members of Indigenous communities, about the visual materials we wanted to use in honour of the occasion. The images we had chosen were respectful but somewhat traditional, including various dancers at a pow wow.
An elder and board member of one of the Indigenous nations said, “We are more than feathers and leathers. There is more that represents us as a people.”
We took that comment very seriously. So we started a number of conversations to understand how we might better represent Indigenous culture and our respect for our Indigenous relationships. One of the key insights from these conversations was that art through the form of beadwork is a consistent aspect of Indigenous culture. Different nations and tribes have unique colours and designs in their beadwork practice, but the traditional craft is one they all have in common.
We reached out to our Indigenous partners and got recommendations for Indigenous beadwork artists from associates, chiefs and board members of Indigenous nations. Our plan was to commission nine artists from several First Nations across Canada to each design their own version of a beaded Petro‑Canada logo. We would then choose one to digitize and use throughout the year to acknowledge the history and experiences of Indigenous Peoples as well as celebrate our partnerships.
After seeing all the designs, we are so in awe of the work that each of the artists completed that we want to share all of them - and the stories from the artists - with you. Here, we introduce four of the artists, along with their logo designs.