IllumiNative will use research and Native art and storytelling to harness, activate, and amplify original Native content on multiple pop culture platforms to bring about understanding, meaningful representation, and systemic change. IllumiNative was conceived by Echo Hawk Consulting, an organizational development and cultural consultancy founded by Crystal Echo Hawk, which co-led the research and strategy design initiative Reclaiming Native Truth (RNT) (funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation). IllumiNative is led by a circle of respected Native cultural strategists and artists including Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee) of Echo Hawk Consulting; Heather Rae (Cherokee), producer of the Academy Award–nominated Frozen River, Netflix Originals Tallulah and Dude, and the award-winning Dry Land; Betsy Theobald Richards (Cherokee), Director of Creative Strategies at The Opportunity Agenda; and Chad Boettcher, Founder and Executive Director of True North Media.
IllumiNative is on a mission to create a narrative shift in pop culture and media about, by and for Native peoples. We seek to break through the dominant negative narrative and erasure of Native peoples to illuminate the vibrancy of Native voices, storytelling, changemakers, and lived experiences. – Crystal Echo Hawk