Seeing Who Native Americans Are

She’s a Gulf War veteran, a Hopi, seen posing on New Mexico’s desert soil in her U.S. Army uniform. He’s a member of Canada’s Ojibwa tribe and a left wing for the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals.

Ursula Roach and Chris Simon are among five “Indians speaking to Indians” in G+G Advertising’s latest pro bono work. The ads are intended to build awareness for the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of the American Indian and its $70 million fundraising campaign.

Currently under construction on the national mall in Washington, D.C., the museum is expected to be completed in 2004.

Michael Gray, president of G+G in Albuquerque and a Blackfoot-Chippewa-Cree, said the NMAI had been promoting its existing facilities in New York and Maryland, along with the new site, through a black-and-white print series he felt was “somewhat dated and stereotypical.”

After offering the agency’s services last summer, G+G got the green light in August to design and produce a flight of five magazine and newspaper ads.

Portland, Ore., photographer Michael Jones, whose portfolio includes print work for Nike, Hewlett-Packard and Oregon Tourism, traveled from Montana to the nation’s capital to photograph the series.

Explained Gray, “The ads juxtapose the modern, contemporary person with how they’re known or identified by Native people.”

The national print campaign will break later this year in magazines and in select media such as the NHL’s playoff game programs.