Raising awareness of the Indigenous experience through Autodesk Indigenous Network

2 min read

Three generations of Kalispel women – my grandma, me, and my mom

Autodesk is a global company that works in almost 40 countries and speaks dozens of languages, so embracing what makes us different – as well as what unites us – helps create a culture of belonging that allows us to do our best work and thrive. One of the ways we enable and foster a diverse, inclusive workplace where everyone can feel like they belong is through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

In 2023, we’ll be launching two new ERGs – Autodesk MIND Network and Autodesk Indigenous Network (AIN). I have the honor to serve on the board of AIN and I’m looking forward to all the great things we will do through this community.

Autodesk Indigenous Network was created to give a voice to Indigenous Autodesk employees, creating awareness and sharing the Indigenous experience with others. We aspire to provide community and mentorship to Indigenous employees, while also expanding conversations on diversity as it pertains to Indigenous people.

I wanted to serve in leadership for the AIN because I’m excited about the impact it can have on employees and Autodesk as a whole. AIN will seek to include global representation for all Indigenous communities. I want to help increase and support Autodesk’s diversity efforts and contribute in any way I can.

I’m a member of the Kalispel Tribe. We’re a small tribe with less than 500 members. Our ancestral land was vast, including eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, and parts of Montana (near present-day Kalispel, Montana). Our reservation was established in 1914 and is based 50 miles north of Spokane, WA. I’m happy to share my own experiences as an Indigenous employee with my fellow Autodeskers, and I’m also looking forward to learning more about the more than 5,000 Indigenous cultures that exist globally.

Dancers in their regalia at the Kalispel pow wow

Historically, Indigenous communities have been lumped into one category even though there’s a vast range of diversity among geographic tribes and nations. Our hope is to find and celebrate the culture of other Autodesk Indigenous employees globally. We will educate and reinforce positive Indigenous culture and help eradicate misinformed stereotypes.

As AIN is a brand-new ERG, planning is still underway, but we’re looking forward to partnering with other ERGs and brainstorming new activities. We’ve already discussed inviting various prominent Indigenous people to speak with Autodesk employees, and we plan to host fun and educational events around Indigenous cooking and food. We’ve even brainstormed starting a book club with Indigenous authors.

I’m also very excited to find ways to give back to Indigenous communities and the land we inhabit. Our culture has a very strong connection to the earth and living sustainability – I think Autodesk’s values align well with Indigenous beliefs.

Joining the Autodesk Indigenous Network will be a great way to network with fellow Autodeskers, learn more about our colleagues’ cultures, and celebrate the diversity within our company. We warmly welcome anyone who would like to be part of our ERG!

Learn more about Autodesk’s employee resource groups here.

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AIN ERG Diversity