Instagram launches First Nations Program for NAIDOC Week

[by Michael Millimaci]


Image: Wayne Quilliam

This NAIDOC Week, Australians are being encouraged to discover the Traditional Country beneath their feet with the launch of ‘Connect to Country’.


Indigenous creative agency Campfire x and Facebook Australia have partnered to launch the movement to drive awareness amongst all Australians of the culturally significant Country upon which they live and work every day.


The ‘Connect to Country’ movement invites Australians to better connect with the world’s oldest continuous culture, and encourages brands and businesses to embed First Nations culture as an integral part of their physical and digital footprints.


‘Connect to Country’ spotlights positive storytelling and representation, and offers easy ways for everyone to make Indigenous Culture an essential part of our everyday life.


Starting today, a new campaign video asks all Australians “Where You From?” and encourages them to discover more about their local First Nations communities, with resources available on the ‘Connect to Country’ Facebook page.


These resources include videos to learn how to acknowledge Country and tips for connecting with their local community and language groups. In addition, Facebook Australia and Campfire x will launch a pilot series of unique First Nations stories that will be served to Facebook and Instagram users who live in corresponding areas, connecting them with the land they’re on. For instance, a video telling the story of the Gamay Rangers who care for the waters of Botany Bay (Gamay) will be served to people in and around the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council area using Facebook’s geo-targeting tools.


For this first phase of this on-platform campaign, Facebook and Instagram users in four regions around NSW will see local stories from the people and land they live on, including Brewarrina, Dubbo, Port Stephens, and La Perouse beginning 4 July to mark NAIDOC Week.


These stories will encourage people to learn more about their local First Nations communities and the campaign will continue to grow in the coming months to share stories from more regions across Australia.


All Australian businesses and brands are invited to participate in ‘Connect to Country’. We’re pleased to have support at launch from Coles, Tourism Australia, and Telstra who all have large national footprints and are committed to the value that Connect to Country will bring to all Australians.


Businesses can learn more and enquire on our website. The Connect to Country campaign was initiated by Campfire x in partnership with Facebook Australia, community organisations, the Brewarrina Local Aboriginal Land Council, Dubbo Local Aboriginal Land Council, Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council and La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council , with creative development by DDB Melbourne.


OMD have been instrumental in bringing on two of the first Bunji partner brands, Coles and Telstra.


Brad Cooke, Co-Founder of Campfire x, said: “There are so many positive stories in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that need to be shared, and stories told by our own people.


“Our people are too often negatively represented in media and online. By creating a space of respect and positivity via Connect to Country, more people will have the opportunity to find out the stories from the land they live and work on, and be better connected to history, culture, and also Indigenous organisations and businesses that are doing amazing things.”


Alexandra Sloane, Director of Marketing for Facebook Australia, said: “This partnership brings the world’s oldest storytelling culture to the world’s newest storytelling platform.


“Our platforms have powerful abilities to enable storytelling and connect all Australians with the custodians of this land, the First Nations peoples who have nurtured it for more than 60,000 years. This campaign delivers cultural understanding and education based on the land you’re located upon, so it’s never been more accessible to learn First Nations stories in your own backyard.”


Melissa Kirby, Ngemba Custodian and Brewarrina Local Aboriginal Land Council member said: “‘Connect to Country’ is Country speaking through a group of people. This communal approach doesn’t just mean people tell their stories on Country, it tells us Country is intelligent and alive. It’s about knowledge in technology coming out of being embedded in the landscape. ‘Connect to Country’ is about the entire system of Country, inclusive of people, animals, plants, ocean, and river, coming together like one big spirit.


“This project captured local people doing normal everyday things, how they celebrate culture and life through Country. ‘Connect to Country’ privileged the local narratives and voices of the Ngemba custodians, empowering local talent and traditional knowledge through a digital platform, showing us that there is no beginning and end to a story. Campfire X engaged the Community of Brewarrina through extensive consultation through awaiting invitation by the Brewarrina LALC. This local protocol is customary practice, and this model of integrity and respect is how things can be done. We are extremely grateful to be chosen as one of the first ‘Connect to Country’ sites.”


Anthony Moss, Group Executive Creative Director at DDB Melbourne, said: “Projects with this much national importance come along once in a career. I’m very proud to have played a small part in this Indigenous led project, and to have witnessed some of our industry’s First Nations talent telling a part of their story.


“The creative team who worked on this launch film—Nic, a proud Gunditjmara man, and Ben—struck the perfect balance in a narrative that addressed cultural sensitivities, and was delivered with an educational nuance. The Connect to Country logo, design, and animation were conceived and developed by a team of Indigenous AWARD School Scholarship graduates whose artwork will be used to help brands connect to the Countries their footprint touches. I sincerely hope that this creative helps more of us connect to our Country, and get around our local mob.” 


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