About Wisdom of the Elders

WISDOM Co-Founder Martin High Bear Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. records and preserves traditional cultural values, oral history, prophesy and other messages of guidance from indigenous elders in order to regenerate the greatness of culture among today’s and future generations of native peoples. As First Peoples, we are humbled by the wisdom of our elders and the deep connection they share with Great Spirit, the world of nature and family. We regard our elders as rapidly vanishing, irreplaceable keepers of oral history, tradition and environment. Values they extol represent an ancient legacy of knowledge which has become as endangered as many disappearing species in our fragile ecosystem.

Education and Reconciliation

Wisdom of the Elders acknowledges the need for reconciliation between Indian and non-Indian. As part of its race reconciliation mission, Wisdom of the Elders strives to share with all peoples, using public radio and documentary production, book publishing and other educational venues in collaboration with diverse cultural organizations and educational institutions.

Organization History

Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. was founded in 1993 by the late Martin High Bear, Lakota medicine man and spiritual leader, and Rose High Bear, Deg Hitan Dine, (Alaskan Athabascan). Since incorporating, WISDOM has successfully produced three series of public radio programs, Wisdom of the Elders Radio. We produced educational curriculum for Oregon’s schools, including social studies, language arts, environmental science and arts (storytelling, traditional arts and music) lesson plans aligned to Oregon’s Educational Standards. It honors tribes of the Northwest and is available at no charge at our website. We formed the Northwest Indian Storytellers Association in 2005 and hold an annual Northwest Indian Storytellers Festival and tribal storytelling workshops in Portland, along with apprenticeship projects for emerging tribal storytellers. We launched Turtle Island Storytellers Network in 2004, the web-based speakers bureau which provides speaking and consulting opportunities for 80 gifted tribal historians, storytellers, artists, and song carriers. We have recorded and preserved 250+ native elders and storytellers and other cultural artists to share their messages and rich cultural values with younger generations. We have also hosted multicultural celebrations since 1999, including An Afternoon with Wisdom of the Elders, Native American Day, celebrations launching our radio series, an annual dinner, An Evening with Wisdom of the Elders, Wisdom Gardens annual Elderberry Harvest Festival, and our 20th Anniversary celebration in April of 2013. Wisdom of the Elders office is located in Portland, Oregon.