Wisdom of the Elders, a Native-run, Oregon non-profit, in partnership with the Northwest Film Center, will premiere two new one-hour programs in its Native Wisdom Documentary Film Series about today’s changing climate and how it is affecting Native Oregonians’ traditional foods and resources.
The screening will take place at the Whitsell Auditorium at the Portland Art Museum, 1219 SSW Park Ave., Portland, Oregon, on May 18th at 2pm (program goes till 6pm).

The documentaries feature gifted tribal elders and indigenous scientists and their observations of ecosystems on their reservation and ceded lands where they hunt, fish and gather traditional First Foods and medicines. The films show how traditional ecological knowledge is now influencing decisions by natural resource managers in Oregon on wildlife and resource management, and how Oregon Tribes are leading the way for the nation in habitat and species restoration.

Portland-based Wisdom of the Elders, founded by the late Martin High Bear (Lakota) and his wife Rose High Bear (Athabascan), has been collecting Native oral histories, stories on history, culture and music for 25 years. Known for their award-winning radio series, “Wisdom of the Elders Radio,” and The Northwest Indian Storytellers Festival, Wisdom has started to develop documentary films. The video series “Native Wisdom,” includes programs on Alaskan Athabascan and Inupiat Tribes. The new pair of films, entitled “The Peoples of Western Oregon” and “The Peoples of Eastern Oregon,” will screen once only at 2:30pm and 4pm with a short break in between.

“Native American prophesy states that the day will come,” explains Executive Producer Rose High Bear, “When the people of the world will turn to Native Americans and other indigenous people to learn how to care for the earth and for one another.”

The films were produced by Wisdom staff producers, Kunu Bearchum, Tim Keenan Burgess and Lawrence Johnson.

Klamath Councilman Perry Chocktoot had this to say:

“I had one old elder tell me one time, ‘There’s nothing without meaning.’ … And what he was trying to tell me was, if you do something, there’s going to be a reaction to it. No matter what you do. Whether it’s the pushing of wind, or the disturbance of dirt, there’s always a reaction to it. So, it made me think: how are we doing things? How are we interacting with government agencies? How are we interacting with one another? Is it going to meet our needs over time? Is it going to meet the unborn children’s needs?“

Funding for the project been provided by the National Endowment of the Arts, The Coquille Tribal Community Fund, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Oregon Cultural Trust, James F and Marion L Miller Foundation, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Prosper Oregon, Portland Film Office, and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund.