Gap Inc.

November 30, 2021

This November, Gap Inc. is celebrating National Indigenous Heritage Month, National Caregivers Month, and Veterans Day (November 11th). To highlight the importance of each group and the passion they exhibit when protecting and celebrating what matters to them, we’re sharing how Gap Inc. is recognizing and honoring these important communities. 

2021 National Indigenous Heritage Month at Gap Inc. 

Why do we say “Indigenous” instead of “Native American”? “Indigenous” means the original inhabitants of a given land or region. “Indigenous peoples of America” have the same general meaning as “Native Americans,” and many prefer this term's inclusivity. The term “Indigenous” clarifies that they occupied the land first, without assigning the American nationality. Using the term “Indigenous” invites others outside of the U.S. into the conversation.  

Today, there are more than 600 Federally recognized Indigenous Tribes in the U.S., and experts believe there to be at least 200 more Indigenous Tribes that the Federal Government does not yet recognize. In Canada, over 630 Indigenous Tribes represent more than 50 nations and 50 Indigenous languages. As more and more tribes are acknowledged, one thing they all have in common is their rich culture which strives to protect and preserve their cultural traditions, starting with taking care of their land. 

With the ongoing acknowledgement of tribes and a recognized national heritage month, Indigenous Peoples communities continue to face social, economic, and cultural challenges with some hitting the mainstream headlines around sport team mascots, to celebrities wearing headdresses accused of cultural appropriation, to the somber history of residential schools in Canada that prompted the Canadian government to recognize September 30th as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation—this conversation has been re-ignited with empathy and momentum. 

At Gap Inc., we recognize the impact and importance of this day and understand that there is much to learn and educate ourselves on. Therefore, we are committed to acknowledging this month by making space to listen, learn and create opportunities for reflection and community participation.   

How can I deepen my understanding of Indigenous People? 

One of the biggest ways is by learning more about land acknowledgments. This is a traditional custom that dates back centuries. Today, land acknowledgments are used to recognize Indigenous Peoples who are the original stewards of the lands on which we now live. You can quickly look up what Indigenous Peoples are native to where you live or work by visiting https://native-land.ca/ and searching by address. After finding out which Tribes or First Nations are native to your location, you to learn more about them. 

As an example, Gap Inc. headquarter buildings, located at 2 Folsom Street and 1 Harrison in San Francisco, are on land that was once occupied by Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. Keep reading below. 

  • The present-day Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is comprised of all the known surviving American Indian lineages aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay region who trace their ancestry through the Missions Dolores, Santa Clara, and San Jose; and who were also members of the historic Federally Recognized Verona Band of Alameda County.[1]
  • The aboriginal homeland of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe includes the following counties: San Francisco, San Mateo, most of Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, and portions of Napa, Santa Cruz, Solano and San Joaquin. This large contiguous geographical area, which historically crosscuts aboriginal linguistic and tribal boundaries, fell under the sphere of influence of the three missions between 1776 and 1836.[1]
  • The missionization policies deployed by the Catholic Church and militarily supported by the Hispanic Empire, brought many distantly related, and in some cases, already inter-married tribal groups together at the missions.[1]

One way to honor other cultures is to take the time to learn more about them and keep an open mind when our preconceptions are challenged by new information. The rich culture of Indigenous People has deeply influenced many areas of our everyday life. Here is a list of resources to get you started! 

  • First Peoples Group
  • Sogorea Te’ Landtrust
  • Books:
    • American Sunrise by Joy Harjo
    • Black Indian by Shonda Buchan
    • Mamaskatch by Darrel J. McLeod
  • Podcasts & Blogs:
  • Did you know?
    • Many of the foods we enjoy such as potatoes, beans, corn, peanuts, pumpkins, tomatoes, squash, peppers, nuts, melons and sunflower seeds were first grown by Indigenous People.
    • Indigenous People are responsible for common words such as:
      • Barbecue, Caribou, Chipmunk, Hammock, Hurricane, Lacrosse, Mahogany, Skunk, Woodchuck
    • These towns, cities and rivers all have names of Indigenous origin:
      • Miami, Milwaukee, Seattle, Spokane, Wichita

[1] Source: http://www.muwekma.org/index.html

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