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Finding a Community Away from Home During Native American Heritage Month

Dani Ganley

by , Internal Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort

Victoria Powell, a senior analyst in Consumer Insights at the Disneyland Resort, has a new sense of confidence when discussing her perspective as a Native American since the Inclusion Key was adopted at Disney — and a new sense of community as a member of NAATV.

“I always thought it was an obligation to make sure that if something came up, to discuss it, but with the Inclusion Key, I can raise my hand more proactively and confidently, knowing everyone’s on the same page,” said Victoria, a member of the Pomo tribe. “Before, I was prepared to make the case for inclusion before talking about my own perspective. By the Inclusion Key being there, I have the confidence of the company backing me up from the very start of a conversation.”

Victoria has also found an enhanced sense of community since joining NAATV (Native Americans & Allies Together with Vision), a companywide Business Employee Resource Group. BERGs consist of cast members who have a passion to create and support a place where we all belong, no matter our backgrounds, experiences or identities.

“My tribe is in Northern California,” she explained. “And finding a Native community in a new city takes time. When the NAATV BERG came to fruition, all of a sudden, I found a whole community. With over 500 federally recognized tribes, it’s important to build connections and learn from one another.”

Victoria especially enjoys NAATV’s monthly Talking Circles. “It’s very open and welcoming; we bring our whole selves to those conversations,” she explained. “I get off of that Zoom call and feel more energized on the other side. I’m proud of our community, and I’m excited to celebrate the further inclusion that stems from our events.”

As with all BERGs at The Walt Disney Company, these groups are open to everyone, whether you identify as part of that community or are an ally.

“NAATV stands for Native Americans & Allies Together with Vision and that really proves the importance of allyship; it’s so important to have allies in it because we’re a smaller population,” Victoria shared, adding that joining the BERG is a great way to learn about local indigenous lands and honor the cultures and contributions of Native American and Indigenous communities and tribes.

“I strive to honor my own culture every month of the year, but during Native American Heritage Month I have a dedicated space to share it with others. For many, Native American Heritage Month is their first exposure to modern Native communities,” said Victoria. “Honoring this month at Disney builds new connections and allyship, which we can continue to foster well beyond November.”

Visit belong.disney.com to view recordings of past events.

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