U.S.-based microblogging giant Twitter has partnered with Anishinaabe artist Chief Lady Bird to launch a new emoji to mark National Indigenous History Month in Canada.
National Indigenous History Month typically takes place in June.
According to Chief Lady Bird, she used her following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to gather suggestions for the design of the emoji itself.
June is #IndigenousHistoryMonth. Follow the conversation and use these hashtags to get our custom emoji designed by @chiefladybird. #IndigenousHistoryMonth#IndigenousPeoplesDay#FirstNations#Metis #Métis#Inuit pic.twitter.com/8h8v14vLx5
— Twitter Canada (@TwitterCanada) June 1, 2018
“As this design is meant to represent my community, I didn’t want to speak on behalf of anyone,” said Chief Lady Bird, in a statement to MobileSyrup. “Moreover I wanted to bring a collective vision to life.”
Chief Lady Bird created a poll on Twitter that asked users to vote on “the four most popular and least-homogenizing designs.”
“It is important to note that I don’t believe that any one symbol can represent the vastness of Indigenous peoples,” explained Chief Lady Bird. “Every nation, every language group, every clan, every individual Indigenous person has a distinct story and it would be so unfair to ever imply that we all fall under one category.”
My series of empowerment portraits honours the strength of Indigenous women and the different ways that we can empower ourselves ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vMlT5H54E9
— Chief Lady Bird ? (@chiefladybird) November 28, 2016
The final design represents Turtle Island. Turtle Island is the English name of North America, translated from different Indigenous languages in the region.
“As an Anishinaabe artist, I am careful not to appropriate from other nations, as I know how sacred our imagery and stories are,” said Chief Lady Bird.
She also hopes that Twitter will collaborate with artists from all Indigenous nations each year.
“For instance, this year it was an Anishinaabe artist, next year it could be an Inuit artist, the year after they could be Haudenosaunee and then Mi’kmaq and then Metis etc,” said Chief Lady Bird.
Twitter also partnered with Coast Salish artist Susan A. Point and will display Point’s work on header images on the Twitter Canada profile page.
Additionally, Twitter has launched a series of hashtags — including #IndigenousHistoryMonth, #IndigenousPeoplesDay — to promote discussion during over the course of the month.