Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. is thrilled to celebrate the 2023 Indigenous Leadership Awards, a celebration of outstanding Indigenous leaders who have dedicated themselves to the empowerment of their communities and the preservation of their ancestral lands. This year, the event is hosted by the Ecotrust organization, recognizing individuals who have tirelessly worked towards strengthening tribal self-determination and uplifting the environmental, cultural, economic, and social conditions of Indigenous communities across diverse backgrounds.

The Significance of the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Awards

Indigenous Leadership Awards

The Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Awards hold a special place in the hearts of Indigenous communities and supporters of Indigenous causes. These awards not only honor the dedication and achievements of Indigenous leaders but also shine a spotlight on their vital roles in shaping a sustainable and culturally vibrant future. Nominated by their communities and chosen by their peers, the awardees represent a tapestry of Indigenous tribes, First Nations, languages, cultures, and landscapes, showcasing the rich diversity within the Indigenous world.

Event Details

Date: Wednesday, October 18
Time: Doors open at 5:30 pm, Dinner at 6 pm, Ceremony to follow at 6:45
Location: The Redd East Main Hall, 831 SE Salmon St, Portland, OR Google Map

Join in for an evening of inspiration, celebration, and solidarity as we come together to acknowledge the exceptional accomplishments of seven remarkable Indigenous leaders.

Meet the Honorees

The 2023 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Awards will recognize seven incredible individuals who have made remarkable contributions to their communities and beyond. These leaders have demonstrated exceptional dedication to their people and the environment. By attending the event, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about their stories, be inspired by their journeys, and show your support for their incredible work.

Ticket Information

To make this event accessible to all, ticket prices are on a sliding scale from $10 to $100. Your contribution not only secures your place at this memorable event but also helps support the community in preserving Indigenous wisdom, culture, and traditions.

RSVP Here!

See you there!

The 2023 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Awards promise an unforgettable evening of unity, inspiration, and appreciation. By attending, you’ll be joining a community of individuals who share a deep commitment to honoring Indigenous leadership and the invaluable contributions of Indigenous peoples to our shared world.

Get your tickets now, mark your calendar for October 18th, and be prepared to celebrate and be inspired by the incredible achievements of Indigenous leaders who continue to make a positive impact on their communities and the planet. Together, let us recognize and uplift the remarkable individuals who embody the spirit of Indigenous leadership.

Celebrate their accomplishments and the boundless potential of Indigenous leadership in creating a better future for all.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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.