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On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the American Indian College Fund on Monday released a new PSA called “Move Aside” that features Reservation Dog’ Elva Guerra (Ponca/Mexican).

Directed by Erica Tremblay of the Seneca-Cayuga (most notably known for her film, “Fancy Dance”), the film is based on the simple concept of bringing to life a cover letter, where we witness a Native graduate played by Guerra preparing to take on her promising future ahead.

The campaign shines a light on the growing number of Native Americans with college degrees (more than 300,000) while centering on and celebrating the Indigenous experience.

Guerra’s character explains that she has over 20,000 years of experience and mentoring from the generations of Native elders’ hands who came before her. Tribal colleges helped her develop her skills; her culture helped her develop her knowledge; and in the final scene, she looks forward to taking this job opportunity—and other applicants can “Move Aside” — as seen in the ending tagline.

Produced by Wieden+Kennedy Portland, W+K Creative Director Patty Orlando and creative team members Robin Maxkii and Brad Trost saw an opportunity to create something unapologetically Native — by subverting the formal and outdated everyday symbolism and language of corporate America and breaking tribal stereotypes. 

"The arts and stories that are embodied in the “Move Aside” campaign are so reflective of the joyful and inclusive way that Native people engage with education and opportunity. Once again, the College Fund, with our great allies at W+K and our deep relationships with Native artists and actors, demonstrates through film that we are here to offer our knowledge and talents for a better society," Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said.

While creating the film, the W+K trio ensured every detail of the campaign was rooted in Native culture by presenting traditional elements in authentic and unexpected ways. The Indigenous crew, wardrobe, production design and props, and even the iconic muscle car symbolize freedom, happiness, and confidence.

“The campaign line is ‘Move Aside’ and that is what we tried to do. Rather than working in our usual way, we engaged an up-and-coming director from Reservation Dogs, Erica Tremblay,” Orlando said. “From there things just fell into place as she brought in Indigenous crew partners and actress, Elva Guerra, from Oklahoma. The shoot took on a life of its own, with Erica calling out crew calls in her native Iroquoian language. I think you can feel all these decisions and intentions in the finished work.”

 

In addition to being used by the College Fund to promote tribal education awareness and the great potential of its graduates, the “Move Aside” campaign will also be used by tribal colleges and universities to promote and market their institutions to their surrounding communities.

Beyond the film, the campaign also has extensions in social media, online banner advertisements, and out-of-home advertising placements in Times Square and on a billboard in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route, to show employers the promising prospects graduating from tribal colleges.

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