Warm Greetings Friends of Wisdom,

As we embrace the vibrant colors of autumn and the changing of seasons in our Fall 2023 newsletter, we also pause to reflect on the significance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This day serves as a reminder of our commitment to honoring and preserving the rich cultural heritage, wisdom, and traditions of Indigenous communities.

It is a time to celebrate the enduring contributions to our shared history, and we are grateful for the opportunity to pay tribute to their resilience and wisdom in every season of the year.

We are excited to welcome you to the latest edition of Wisdom of the Elders Fall Newsletter. With each passing season, our organization continues to grow and evolve, thanks to the unwavering support and dedication of our community, partnerships, and donations…Happy Fall Equinox

2023 Fall Oregon

Meet the Board of Directors

Let us extend our heartfelt gratitude to the exceptional members of the Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. Board of Directors—a remarkable assembly of individuals who bring boundless passion and unwavering dedication to the joyful pursuit of our mission: the preservation of Indigenous wisdom and the vibrant celebration of cultural awareness.

Don Motanic, our President of the Board brings a wealth of knowledge in forestry and has been a tireless advocate for Native youth through his involvement with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

Charlene Holycross has made significant contributions to her community, mainly through her mentoring programs and cultural consulting work. Her dedication to education and cultural preservation is truly admirable.

We warmly welcome our new members, Jenn Cairo, Sean Britt, and Robbi Kumalo, to our esteemed Board of Directors.

Jenn Cairo‘s extensive experience in natural resources management and commitment to Indigenous culture align perfectly with our organization’s goals.

Sean Britt‘s expertise in traditional language, songs, and foods, along with his role as a Canoe Journey skipper, adds valuable cultural insight to our team.

Finally, Robbi Kumalo‘s multifaceted talents in the arts, from voice acting to artist management, are sure to bring fresh perspectives and creativity to our organization.

We look forward to their contributions as we continue our important work in preserving and sharing Wisdom of Indigenous Elders with the world.

Give and Donate during Give!Guide

Wisdom is in Give!Guide

Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. Joins the Willamette Week Give!Guide Campaign for the Next Three Years!

We are thrilled and deeply honored to share some exciting news with you. Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. has been selected to be a part of the prestigious Willamette Week Give!Guide campaign for the next three years!

The Willamette Week Give!Guide is an annual philanthropic extravaganza that brings together the vibrant community of Portland, Oregon, in a collective effort to support and uplift local nonprofits. This campaign has a remarkable track record of success, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of it.
What is the Willamette Week Give!Guide?

The Give!Guide is a season of giving, taking place annually from November 1st to December 31st. The campaign presents a diverse array of nonprofit organizations working tirelessly across various sectors, from animals and civil rights to education and the environment. It’s a powerful platform that encourages individuals like you to make a difference by contributing to causes close to your heart.

In 2022, the Give!Guide shattered its goal, raising an astonishing $8,185,256 from 16,847 donors, surpassing its target of $8,000,000 from 17,000 donors. This incredible achievement reflects the immense generosity and community spirit of Portland and its surrounding areas.
Supporting Wisdom of the Elders, Inc.

Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. is dedicated to preserving and sharing the traditional ecological knowledge of indigenous communities and promoting intergenerational learning. Our inclusion in the Give!Guide campaign allows us to reach a wider audience and secure vital resources for our programs.

By supporting us through the Give!Guide, you’re not just contributing to our organization; you’re investing in the preservation of indigenous wisdom, environmental stewardship, and cultural appreciation.

Incentives and Big Give Days

We are excited to announce that by donating to Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. through the Give!Guide, you’ll have the chance to receive special incentives from local businesses. These incentives include free yoga sessions, delicious treats, and discounts at local establishments, all as a token of our gratitude for your support.

Additionally, there are “Big Give Days” during the campaign where your donations could lead to exciting prizes. This year, you could win an e-bike, enjoy a shopping spree, or score some cool products. The Give!Guide truly knows how to make giving fun!
Join Us on This Journey

We believe that when the wisdom of the past meets the generosity of the present, incredible things happen. We invite you to join us in this inspiring journey during the Willamette Week Give!Guide campaign. Your contributions will not only make a difference in the lives of indigenous communities but also support the broader mission of preserving our planet and nurturing the cultural tapestry of our society.

Keep an eye on our social media channels and website for updates, stories, and opportunities to engage with Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. throughout the campaign. Together, we can make the next three years with the Give!Guide a transformative experience for our organization and the community we serve.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and let’s make this campaign an unforgettable chapter in our mission to honor and celebrate indigenous wisdom.

WWD LLC

Wisdom Workforce, LLC

Wisdom Work Force, LLC, is a vital arm of Wisdom of the Elders, dedicated to habitat restoration and environmental conservation in the Portland area. Our team plays a crucial role in restoring the natural environment, and applying Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to create sustainable landscapes. We also specialize in the removal of invasive species and collaborate closely with the Portland Parks and Recreation and Forestry Department to safeguard local ecosystems. If you’re passionate about making a positive impact on the environment, consider joining our team. To explore opportunities and be part of this meaningful work, please contact Adrienne at adrienne@wisdomoftheelders.org. Your contributions can help us further our mission of preserving the environment, removing invasive species, and honoring Indigenous wisdom for future generations.

ITEK Internships

Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK)

Wisdom of the Elders proudly offers paid internship opportunities for those interested in the environmental sector, focusing on environmental restoration and Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK). This 12-week program, held every Spring and Fall, combines online and in-person sessions with partner organizations on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, emphasizing safety measures in light of Covid-19.

Led by ITEK Instructor Dawn Lowe, the program delves into ITEK, STEAM-related concepts, and Native American cultural arts and plants. Participants are encouraged to use public transportation or secure rides to fieldwork sites and can access support for transportation and technology. Graduates of the program receive career pathway support, including assistance with future applications, employment opportunities, and positions with Wisdom of the Elders and partner organizations, all while respecting and preserving Indigenous knowledge and cultures.

For more information please contact dawn@wisdomoftheelders.org

WWD Summer Internship

Become an Environmental Instructor at Wisdom of the Elders, Inc

Are you passionate about the environment, Indigenous wisdom, and hands-on teaching? Join our team as an Environmental Instructor at Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. and play a pivotal role in connecting Native and BIPOC interns with (ITEK) Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge through immersive field experiences. In this rewarding role, you’ll receive competitive compensation and a health stipend, allowing for a balanced work-life schedule.

At Wisdom of the Elders, Inc., we are a community rooted in the traditions of the First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest, focusing on the relationships between humans and the Plant People. As an Environmental Instructor, you’ll lead and instruct interns in hands-on field learning experiences, applying (ITEK) Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge to environmental and First Foods Restoration projects, preserving native plant species, and honoring their cultural significance. Join us in bridging the gap between tradition and the environment, cultivating a sustainable future, and sowing the seeds of knowledge for generations to come. Reach out to Maz at maz@wisdomoftheelders.org or call (503) 775-4014 to learn more and be a part of something greater.

2024 Multimedia Internship Poster

Multimedia

Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. has been working diligently on our Multimedia Internship program for Native American & BIPOC students in our vibrant Portland area with a passion for multimedia and storytelling.

Become a part of an exciting and dynamic journey in the film and multimedia arts sector. Our paid internship opportunities are designed to provide aspiring multimedia creators with an enriching experience that not only enhances your portfolio but also certifies you as a producer.

At Wisdom Multimedia, we’ve been capturing and preserving the wisdom and knowledge of Native American Elders, cultural leaders, and Indigenous scientists since 1993. Our multimedia projects have given voice to these incredible stories, resulting in our acclaimed Wisdom of the Elders Radio Program series, Climate, and Native Wisdom Documentary Series, Discovering Our Story TV Program, and an ITEK tailored multimedia curriculum. Additionally, we have hosted numerous public cultural celebrations and film festivals.

Our multimedia interns will have the chance to contribute to various projects, gaining hands-on experience in film and video field production, post-production editing, photography, and archival work. Under our guidance, they will be able to explore both traditional and digital activities, with opportunities to learn about new media, social media, and television studio production.

The internship will also involve planning and coordinating public events, such as film festivals, screenings, and community consultations, all within a professional environment where networking opportunities abound. Interns will have the chance to enrich their portfolio while telling the stories of our Native Elders, youth, family members, partners, and volunteers.

What They Will Learn

  • Participate in creative projects from start to finish
  • Develop skills in film and video production
  • Contribute to the Wisdom Archive Initiative
  • Work on the Climate and Native Wisdom Documentary Series
  • Collaborate with Native school students on meaningful projects
  • Produce video content for Wisdom Workforce Developments assessment and habitat restoration lesson plans
  • Be part of the Discovering Our Story: Generations TV team
  • Explore new media projects and Native media blogging
  • Provide valuable support to fellow interns on various multimedia projects
  • Create their own unique creative project

Our internships typically span three to six months, with a flexible commitment of 8-12 hours per week, spread across 2-3 days. Most of your work will be at the Open Signal Studio in Portland but occasional field trips and fieldwork are also involved.

Position Requirements

  • High school diploma or GED certificate, with some higher education preferred
  • Strong interest in multimedia and Wisdom’s services and activities
  • Passion for collaborating with Native elders, youth, volunteers, and community members
  • Reliable transportation to and from the Wisdom office
  • Willingness submit to and pass a background check and criminal history background check

This incredible opportunity is made possible by the support of our community, partners, guest educators, and generous funding from MHCRC.

We kindly ask that you share the news of our Spring 2024 Internship with your network and help us in our mission to preserve Indigenous wisdom and promote cultural awareness through the captivating medium of multimedia storytelling.

Feel free to download our flier and pass it along to your friends and fellow storytellers! Your support is invaluable in spreading the word about this incredible opportunity.
This program is made possible thanks to the support of our community, partners, and guest educators, and generous funds and partnership from MHCRC.

Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission
Open Signal PDX

Closing Thoughts

In this season of transformation, thank you for coming together as a community, embracing the spirit of giving, and continuing to sow the seeds of hope and compassion. Join us as we celebrate the beauty of fall and the opportunities it brings to create a brighter, more inclusive future.

Thank you for your ongoing support, which makes all of our work possible.

Together, we are making a difference, one leaf at a time.

Teresa Montana

Exec. Dir.

young Indigenous Perspectives on Its Board of Directors

2024 Spring ITEK Internship Graduation Celebration

Date: Friday, June 14, 2024
Time: 1 PM – 4 PM (PDT)
Location: Great Spirit United Methodist Church, 3917-3927 NE Shaver St, Portland, OR 97212, USA

We celebrate the remarkable achievements of our Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK) internship graduates. These dedicated individuals have contributed significantly to our mission and have taken diverse paths toward success. Many have joined our Wisdom Workforce Development, LLC Crew, while others have secured positions with our esteemed partners or are furthering their education to expand their opportunities in this vital field.

To our graduates, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for walking with us in this important work. We wish you all continued success in your future endeavors!

Wisdom of the Elders, Inc 2024 Horizontal

Press Release: Update: Kevin Coochwytewa Creates Wisdom’s New Logo

Exciting News! Wisdom of the Elders Unveils Fresh Look with New Logo and Re-brand!

We are eager to finally be able to share with you all our new logo for Wisdom of the Elders!

This new logo reflects our organization’s re-commitment to preserving and sharing the oral histories, cultural arts, language concepts, and traditional knowledge of Indigenous elders, storytellers, and scientists. Join us in celebrating this rebranding milestone as we continue our journey in collaboration with diverse institutions, agencies, and organizations.

While our appearance may evolve over the years, our dedication to Native American cultural sustainability, multimedia education, and cultural reconciliation remains unwavering.

A HUGE thank you to our logo designer, Kevin Coochwytewa (@lightning.kev) (Isleta Pueblo/Hopi), lightningkev.com a visionary artist with a deep reverence for tradition and an innovative spirit. Kevin brings a unique blend of heritage and contemporary flair to his work, and his profound respect for the wisdom passed down by our elders promises to infuse our organization’s identity with renewed vitality and resonance.

Together, we strive for a brighter, more inclusive future for all. ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

Celebrating the Graduates of the 2024 Spring Multimedia Paid Internship Program This June

The Wisdom of the Elders multimedia department has an increadable relaunch of its renowned internship program for 2024. In collaboration with Open Signal, a leading organization in media empowerment, this program offers aspiring Indigenous/BIPOC multimedia professionals a hands-on experience in a dynamic environment.

In late March, a fresh wave of interns lead by KJ Moore (Multimedia Producer) swept into Open Signal, eager to dive into the world of multimedia production. With classes in Studio Production, Cinematography, and hands-on camera training, they eagerly got their hands on the equipment and started to produce amazing content. This cohort, characterized by their quick learning and undeniable enthusiasm, wasted no time in putting their skills to the test.

Venturing beyond the studio walls, they took to the streets, documenting the pulse of the surrounding community and capturing events for Wisdom of the Elders. One recent highlight was the filming of Jeri Moomaw’s presentation—a poignant moment that showcased their dedication to storytelling.

Now, their sights are set on a sacred journey to Tsagalalal (She-Who-Watches), a revered petroglyph in the Columbia Gorge. This excursion promises not only breathtaking scenery but also a chance to honor the land and its history through their lenses—an opportunity embraced by both interns and the Indigenous community alike.

As they gear up for their final projects, slated for presentation in June, the interns are preparing to leave their mark on the multimedia landscape. From film festivals to documentary series, their work will not only showcase their talents but also amplify the voices of the communities they serve.

In the end, this internship is more than just a stepping stone—it’s a chance to make meaningful connections, hone their craft, and tell stories that resonate far beyond the confines of a screen.

Stay tune for more information about the 2024 Spring Internship Graduation in June

A special Thank you to KJ Moore, Tim Keenan Burgess and Open Signal

Community Spotlight: Meet Ayla Hubert: Wisdom LLC, Field Crew Tech

Hi, my name is, Ayla Hubert.

I am a Land Stewardist working with the Forest Park Conservancy (FPC). I believe FPC helps make the environment a better place for humanity. I love working at FPC because it’s outdoors and helps restore the earth to its natural beauty. I enjoy pulling ivy and grubbing blackberry roots. Doing this land work for a greater cause is bigger than me, and it’s a freeing experience for my soul, allowing me to discover who I can become while supporting the earth’s beauty alongside humanity to help the state of Oregon.

I started out with Wisdom when I first returned to Portland, coming out of some difficult times. I began with an internship at Wisdom and, after completing it, moved on to an internship at FPC. Eventually, I was able to return to Wisdom to secure a full-time job working with the LLC Crew.

I love working for Wisdom because I’ve learned a lot about invasive and non-native plants, as well as the first food plants I’ve worked around. Working with Wisdom has shown me the importance of saving and restoring the land to its natural beauty, and how other members of Wisdom have welcomed me. Working with Wisdom is truly a gift for my life experience.

No Dream Is To Small, Reach For The Stars.

New Staff:

We are thrilled to announce our organization’s growth and the expansion of opportunities we can offer to our community. As part of this exciting development, we are pleased to welcome and introduce two new staff members to our team at Wisdom of the Elders.

DAVINEEKAHT WHITE ELK: ENVIRONMENTAL INSTRUCTOR 

(SIKSIKA NATION) 

Hello relatives, my name is Davineekaht White Elk. I use any/all pronouns. On my father/grandfather’s side, I’m an enrolled member of the Siksika Nation in Alberta, Canada, from the Blackfoot Confederacy. On my father/grandmother’s side, I’m Bitterroot Salish from the Flathead Nation in western Montana. On my mother/grandmother’s side, I’m Northern Ute of the Uncompahgre band from Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Utah. On my Mother’s/grandfather’s side, I’m part of the Carrizo/Comecrudo tribe along the South Texas Rio Grande River. They are not a federally recognized tribe in the United States and are fighting for recognition. 

I was born and raised in Portland and grew up in the native community. Most of my Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK) came from teachings from my ceremonial community, learning from my family, elders, and community members. I have cultural art skills, including beading jewelry, sewing/ regalia, hide scraping, leather work, medicine bundles, and tea/slave making. I like to be creative and open to learning new skills. 

I attend Portland State University (PSU), and have earned a bachelor of science degree, double majoring in Indigenous Nations Studies and Environmental Science, and a certificate in Indigenous Traditional Ecology Cultural Knowledge (ITECK). I’m a part of UISHE, the United Indigenous Students in Higher Education at PSU, as their social media manager. I serve on the Portland Urban Forest Plan Community Advisory Committee and Metro Equity Advisory Committee. I have three years of experience in the environmental education field at the Oregon Zoo in 2017, I graduated from the Center for Diversity and Environment Leadership Program. I have seven years of experience working with the Portland Native American Community at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) in their Youth Education Services. I enjoy being outside with my partner and our little Chihuahua/Pomeranian dog, Sunny, and spending time with loved ones.            

JAE VILES-ERDELT: CREW LEAD 

(CHINOOK INDIAN NATION, CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF SILETZ INDIANS) 

Cheela dv-laa-ha~ Łax̣ayam shiksh!

Howdy, y’all! My name is Jae Viles-Erdelt. I use he/him pronouns. I am a descendant of the Joshua people of the Rogue River, the Sixes people of the Sixes River, and the Pillar Rock people of the Columbia River. I am an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of SIletz Indians, and the Chinook Indian Nation. 

I was born and raised in Eugene OR where I had the good fortune of being raised immersed in my Native cultures that are intrinsically tied to the wisdom that comes from the land. Gathering beargrass, spruce root, cedar bark, hazel, mussels, crab, fish, huckleberries, and camas has had a significant impact on my priorities and how I navigate the world. I have benefited immensely from these relationships and feel that it is my responsibility to enable the same relationships for other Native people. 

For the past three years, I have been lucky to find community in cultural fire. After participating in a few burns, and recognizing the importance of bringing good fire back to the landscape, I joined as a founding member of an all-Indigenous prescribed and cultural fire crew called the Wagon Burners. For the past three seasons, the Wagon Burners have burned more than two thousand acres of prairie oak savanna, and pine woodland in Oregon and Washington. We also had the honor of participating in the first re-entries of fire with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and the Chinook Indian Nation. 

It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life to be able to help my Chinook community bring good fire back to our homelands. Seeing the youth of our community carry the fire and knowing they will never know a time without good fire was incredibly impactful to me. For this reason I am so excited to be coming onto the Wisdom of the Elders team, and doing restoration work with the crew and eventually helping to build a fire program to help bring good fire to the Portland Metro area!

COR Tree Planting Project:

The restoration crew has been working through the downpours, and intense heat of the past month on a project they are very excited to share with you all! Between a railroad track and a waste management facility in North East Portland, the restoration crew planted over two hundred drought-resistant trees and shrubs. 

Oregon grape, madrone, ponderosa pine, cypress, and blue blossom are just a few of the species that they put in. Despite the rough conditions, the crew worked hard knowing that these plants would be vital to providing shade to this community!

Upcoming Projects, Events & Workshops:

Mark your calendars and prepare to embark on a journey of discovery with our upcoming events, projects and workshops. From thought-provoking discussions to hands-on activities, there’s something for everyone seeking to deepen their connection with wisdom and community.

Please take a moment to consider our Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK) and Multimedia paid internships that are offered in the Spring and Fall of each year. They are both listed below. If you or someone you know might be interested, give us a call or send an email and we can further discuss the details. 

We are also excited to let you know that we are in the process of digitizing all of our archived film footage. When this process is completed we will be able to deliver the material back to the families, people, and tribes from which they came. 

Fulfilling the promises made and giving these historical materials back is, and has been, my hope and personal commitment to our extended families and friends. Wisdom has ongoing partnerships with OPB and OpenSignal that will be instrumental in these projects. 

The Film festivals and screenings will be open to the public. We will keep you posted, so please keep watch for the announcements in the upcoming year.

Join Us:

We extend an open invitation to you, dear friends, to join us as we embrace the vibrant energy of spring together. Let us gather wisdom, foster connections, and kindle the flames of inspiration within our hearts.

In the renewal of spring’s vitality, let us find joy and strength, drawing upon the timeless wisdom from our community. Join Wisdom of the Elders on our journey.

All my best to our families and friends,

Teresa,

Exec. Dir.