History & Projects

A short history & summery of Wisdom of the Elders Projects

Wisdom Workforce Development (WWD)

WWD graduates have opportunities to apply for green jobs in the local economy and/or serve on Wisdom Workforce Development LLC which was formed in 2015 to provide living wage work for Native workers. Most recently, Wisdom Agricultural Business Incubator is providing microenterprise business skills, a coop and donated land at the Wisdom Native Plant Nursery for Native people to enter horticultural and agricultural fields as business owners.

Multimedia productions

Wisdom has recorded over 400 Native American elders, tribal leaders, indigenous scientists and cultural leaders since 1990 when we purchased our first video recording equipment. Wisdom of the Elders Radio Program produced four series since 2002; Native Wisdom Documentary Film Series produced four documentary films since 2012; Discovering Our Story Television Program which airs live once a month since 2012 with links to programs provided at our website.

Public Events

Since 1999, Wisdom has held series of multicultural celebrations for public audiences. This starting with An Afternoon with Wisdom of the Elders in 1999 when we held four events honoring not just Native American but also African American, Asian and Latino cultures.

For a decade we held annual Northwest Indian Storytelling Festivals. Most recently, we began a series of Native American Storytelling and Traditional First Foods Symposium for public audiences.

We have also held our first Native Wisdom Film Festival in 2017 in partnership with Northwest Film Center and the Portland Art Museum. Dozens of Film Screenings and Community Consultations have been held throughout the state of Oregon since 2014.

Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Wisdom began to develop culturally-tailored multimedia curriculum for tribes and schools in 2005 using lesson plans developed by Native educators who integrated film clips of Native elders, scientists, educators and cultural leaders. Our (ITEK) Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge program provides environmental science lessons plans.

We created our Native Youth Leadership Initiative in 2012 and began to provide Wisdom Summer Field Science Camps for Native youth in local natural areas in partnership with environmental NGOs, public agencies and educational institutions.

An important component is our Native Youth Leadership Training we provide to older Native youth, including advanced environmental science, multimedia production, leadership and mentoring. They then gained work experience mentoring younger youth during our summer STEAM camps which helped them to pursue STEM careers.