Carson High School students create design for new tribal economic development program
Carson High School Career and Technical Education graphic design students Stella Carroll and Luis Garcia developed a logo for Northern Nevada Development Authority’s new tribal economic development program, Native Nations Alliance.
NNDA launched the program at the Western Tribal Economic Development Forum held in Fallon last January.
Valerie Meléndez, tribal economic development director and economic development ambassador for NNDA, said NNA’s mission is to partner and collaborate with each tribal community to help them become economically independent, while maintaining the values and integrity of tribal culture and heritage. Each tribal community can receive the level of assistance they desire based on their needs and on their terms, with NNA acting as a neutral facilitator.
“The tribes are an important part of the fabric we call Nevada,” she said. “Our goal is to collaborate with them to attract business partners and investors and to help facilitate each tribal community’s general improvement in quality of life and living standards for current and future generations.”
Future generations were an important factor for Meléndez when creating NNA’s visual identity, using the tag line ‘Seven Generational Trajectory.’
“Natives are taught whenever we make a decision to think of the impact seven generations forward,” she said. “Some of that has fallen away in this time of immediate gratification. I really wanted the NNA logo to reflect our goals to be forward thinking in economic development.”
Meléndez, who is Northern Nevada Paiute from the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, said working with the tribes is both a vision and a dream come true for her.
“Being Native, I understand the struggles, the issues and the needs of our tribal communities,” she said.
Meléndez said she chose to work with CHS students to design the visual identity for NNA after seeing the design students had won an award for their logo created for the Google G-Suite Summit in February, reaching out to Patricia Ababio, CHS CTE graphic arts teacher to meet her students.
“The students researched colors, feathers for the arrows and the obsidian for the arrowheads, searching for authenticity to Nevada tribal culture,” she said.
Ababio said the design chosen to represent NNA is a combination of design and font work by Garcia and Carroll, fourth-year advanced students in graphic design, each of whom have created many materials for community and school use.
“Graphic design advanced studies allow students who have achieved all content standards to continue investigation and in-depth research in pursuit of this career pathway,” she said. “Their collaboration with community partners really helps them learn how to function in the business world.”
Which is exactly what Meléndez hoped for when working with the students.
“NNA believes we can help build strong, prosperous and resilient tribal communities,” she said. “What NNDA has been doing successfully for over 30 years for the Sierra region, we want to do for the tribes.”
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.