Indigenous heritage ‘means everything’ to these Best Buy employees

Pictured above (left to right): Best Buy employees Saraphina Scott, Che Jim and Tracy Brown.

This month, Best Buy is proud to celebrate Native American Heritage Month alongside our employees and customers.

It’s an opportunity to recognize and share the history, culture, traditions and contributions of Indigenous people. They comprise a rich and diverse community, with 574 federally recognized tribes across the U.S.

We talked some of the leaders from our new Indigenous Employee Resource Group to learn more about what this month — and their Indigenous heritage — means to them.

Che Jim, Certified Appliance Advisor (Carmel, Indiana)

What tribe are you from?

Dine’ Navajo Nation/Odawa/Nahua

What does your Indigenous heritage mean to you?

It means everything to me. It means I carry with me a connection to this land, and this environment that is deeper and more personal. World cultures are developed over thousands of years. And they are entirely shaped by the environment they there were developed on. My Indigenous language, customs and perspectives that were passed down to me from my parents and ancestors were literally born on this soil. They were not brought here or adopted here. They were born here. That means so much to me, and it’s something I remind myself of every day. It’s my entire being!

How do you share your culture with others?

I am active in my community. I founded my own nonprofit organization that we use to educate our local communities through programs that highlight Indigenous people. I volunteer and attend gatherings that give me or others a platform to speak on own history, culture and perspectives.

Tracy Brown, Marketing Lead (Richfield, Minnesota)

What tribe are you from?

Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

What does your Indigenous heritage mean to you?

It means I am here. It means I am strong, resilient and special. I feel proud to be a part of something bigger than America. My ancestors were literally here before anyone else, living their lives, and the government tried to eradicate this “problem.” It makes me angry to think of that, but I grew up on the reservation and was just existing, living my life as anyone else. It is who I am. I didn’t feel different until I moved out of my community.

How do you celebrate your culture?/What part of your culture are you most proud of?

I celebrate my culture by attending pow wows, supporting beadwork artists and brands that are Indigenous-owned, trying to learn my language and trying to pass on the culture to my children. I am most proud of my culture’s values and respect for all living things. Native American culture is based on the fact that everything has a spirit. People, plants, animals, water, etc., all have a purpose and spirit. We must do our best to respect the earth and everything around us. If we take an animal’s life, we say a prayer and thank them for providing food and materials, and do not let anything go to waste. Indigenous people are protectors of the earth and environment because without it we literally cannot exist. Borders were not a thing, nobody can “own” land. Two-spirit, or LGBTQIA+ people, are respected and viewed as special, possessing two spirits, masculine and feminine. Women are life bearers and are held in high regard as opposed to other cultures where they are seen as inferior. Native people have shown us that everyone deserves respect, no one is superior.

How do you share your culture with others?

I share my culture with others by starting an online clothing boutique. The clothing is mainstream fashion that can be worn by anyone, but the models, accessories and company mission all support Native representation. Using my boutique’s social media, I share other brands, beadwork artists and events that my audience can support in addition to buying from my boutique. Growing up, I never saw a Native American fashion model, stylist or business woman. I love to share my story of growing up on the reservation, facing hardship and trauma, and working towards my goals of becoming a successful business woman and making a name for myself in the fashion world. Even if it starts out as a small business, I am making my voice heard. I’m thankful for the changes that have been made in fashion but there is still a long way to go. Just this year, I have noticed a large trend in Native American representation and models. Let’s hope it sticks and doesn’t fade away as a “trend.”

Saraphina Scott, Geek Squad Manager (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

What tribe are you from?

Navajo Nation

What does your Indigenous heritage mean to you?

It gives me purpose, encouragement and a sense of belonging in anything and everything I do in my life. An example of that would be our Navajo clan system. The way it works is that you are born, you are born with four clans. First is your mother, second is your father, third is your maternal grandfathers and fourth is your paternal grandfather’s clan. For me, this lets me know I have a family all over and it helps me especially when I’m feeling a bit homesick.

How do you celebrate your culture?/What part of your culture are you most proud of?

The biggest thing I’m proud of for my culture is the sense of urgency the younger generation has in “saving” the culture, traditions, teachings and languages.

How do you share your culture with others?

I love explaining our clan system to others.

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