Indian Medicine

My name is Yvonne Fox. My Indian name is White Buffalo Woman. It’s Danaha Daga or it’s Danaga, Dana Hadaga. My great grandfather was Little Sioux who was a scout with Custer during the Battle of Little Big Horn and did have a medal from that time.

Grandma Philamine, Mom’s mom, had an Indian medicine and so she was a really good example. I never knew of her getting mad at people or saying things about people or anything. She was just a good person. We got some of her medicine and that’s what she said. When you get some of the medicine they give you advice on how to live and not to be doing this and that and saying things and all that stuff so I think she was really a good influence on me.
She lived around here all the time and she took her grandchildren with her all the time. Finally, she had her great-grandchildren and she just kept them with her. She just took care of them all the time, but she always took care of us the old way. Not always but most of the time you know, she’d use the Indian way of taking care of flu or diarrhea and different kind of things that you can use herbal stuff with. She did that all the time with us, she didn’t. In the early days, you couldn’t jump in a car and run to the hospital or a clinic or anything. It just wasn’t. So we learned, you know, that if a person knew how to do all this stuff with the medicine and stuff, that it was helpful.


Yvonne Fox – White Buffalo Woman

Arikara elder, Yvonne Fox lives in the eastern part of the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota. Her great grandfather, Little Sioux, was one of the scouts for Custer’s Seventh Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Her grandmother, Anna Dawson Wilde, was raised and went to school in Hampton, Virginia. After finishing school she came back to the reservation and became a field nurse. The tribe’s sacred bundles tell of migration starting in Central America and traveling over large water and were the first recorded location along the Mississippi River. The migration continued west along the Missouri River where today village and lodge circle remains are still in existence. After the Garrison Dam flooded the bottomlands, the tribe was forced to move up to the prairie.

Yvonne holds a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and has been a teacher for more than 30 years. She was awarded “Teacher of the Year” by the National Indian School Board Association. She holds the position of Treasurer of the Sahnish Society. Spanish is the name we call ourselves. She is also a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Local Legion Indian Post, a member of the Old Scout Society, and most importantly is a holder of a medicine bundle from her grandmother.

Yvonne belongs to a cultural society made up of teachers from a local school, White Shield. They developed a curriculum for non-Indian teachers to teach Arikara history and culture. The type of storytelling Yvonne does depends on the audience. Her presentations are usually geared to children, but she has also presented to teachers and at education conventions. She tells stories about sacred rocks and places. One story is of the Medicine stone and how medicine people danced on it when it was heated up. Another story tells of the Grandfather rock that was carried all along the migration and they still have it today. At Fort Yates on the Standing Rock reservation, Standing Rock is an Arikara woman who turned to stone.

Yvonne is also a tribal culture specialist. She shares her knowledge of tribal dances and songs, along with the history of cultural artifacts, environmental issues, and tribal government. The Arikara have many tribal dances and songs, but ceremonies are kept within the tribe. Out of twelve sacred bundles, they have seven remaining. The bundles contain a symbolic history of the Arikara tribe tracing the people back to the very beginning of their existence. The Arikara are also known for their burden baskets and pottery, which is in the process of being revived.

Yvonne E. Fox
1025 B 61 st Ave. NW
Garrison, ND 58540
701-743-4379
yefox_39@hotmail.com

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.