July 14, 2012

BCBSOK incorporates Native culture

BCBSOK weaves Native culture into corporate culture

By Karen ShadeToday’s continually changing corporate culture can sometimes seem worlds away from Native American culture, focused on the preservation of traditions and tongues of distant ancestors. But as more Native Americans secure their place in a corporate atmosphere while maintaining their tribes’ values, a meeting between the worlds was inevitable.

Companies like BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma are stepping forward to meet those changes and add to the company’s sense of Native American identity for all employees and clients.

“This is the Oklahoma headquarters (of BCBSOK) so we really wanted it to have an Oklahoma personality, and that meant capturing elements from all the histories,” said Mercedes Millberry, communications consultant for BCBSOK.

Throughout the building, pieces of the state’s and region’s past are exhibited in displays on par with those you might find in museums. There’s the Route 66 display in the break room. There’s also art reflecting Oklahoma’s oil story on display throughout their downtown Tulsa headquarters located at 1400 S. Boston Avenue. In the ground floor lobby, where visitors wait to be met by a representative and employees must pass to enter the company credit union office, a multi-panel display joins the stories of three important aspects of Native culture: the Creek Nation Council Oak Tree in Tulsa, the Comanche code talkers of World War II and Oklahoma City’s annual Red Earth Native American Festival.
Comment:  For more on Native business, see Litefoot Pushes Global Business Expansion and Aboriginal Entrepreneurs on Boom Box.

Below:  "Danielle Ward, Muscogee (Creek), is the BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma employee who won her company's Native art contest. Soon her portrait of Sitting Bull will hang with other Oklahoma and tribal-identified art at the company's headquarters in Tulsa."

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