>>>> December 2017 >>>>

Wisdom expanded the Discovering Yidong Xinag Educational Toolkit and will provide it early in 2018 starting with a pilot being planned with an Oregon tribe. This culturally-tailored multimedia curriculum features film clips from the Native Wisdom Documentary Film Series with indigenous science, traditional ecological knowledge and cultural arts. These cultural elements are being integrated into environmental science lesson plans and includes fun service learning activities in local natural areas. We are aligning materials to Next Generation Science Standards and providing professional development trainings for educators. This expansion has been funded by the generosity of Spirit Mountain Community Fund, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Charlotte Martin Foundation and Nike N-7.We are now seeking funding for further expansion of this educational initiative designed to strengthen educational engagement and academic achievement of Native American and other low-income students and improve social and emotional learning.

 

(Two shots from our production of the film Native Wisdom People of the Oregon Coast, capturing The Coquille Tribe Lamprey Float on the South Coquille River and the gathering of tea leaves.)

>>>> November 2017 >>>>

Rose High Bear doing the community consultation at OMSI

Rose High Bear facilitating discussion during the community consultation portion of our OMSI Film Screening.

Film Screening and Community Consultation at Oregon City Public Library

Film Screening and Community Consultation at Oregon City Public Library

Six Film Screenings and Community Consultations were held during Native American Heritage Month. This included Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the State Capitol in Salem, Oregon City Public Library and Intel. These were funded by Oregon Cultural Trust, Oregon Arts Commission, Coquille Indian Foundation and the Regional Arts and Culture Council. Partners included OMSI, Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Department of Indian Education, Oregon Youth Authority, Oregon City Public Library and the Native American network at Intel. Thank you to all that came out to make them a success!

>>>> October 2017 >>>>

Gerry RainingBird joined the Wisdom family in October when he came aboard as Wisdom’s new Executive Director while co-founder Rose High Bear transitioned to a role as Senior Consultant and Executive Producer. Wisdom’s Executive Transition project has been funded by Meyer Memorial Trust, The Collins Foundation and NoVo Foundation.

>>>> September 2017 >>>>

Wisdom staff took a group of Portland-area storytellers up to the Northwest Indian Storytelling Association’s Storytellers Retreat and Public Storytelling Gathering in Seattle. The weekend included public storytelling events, trainings and an organizational meeting at the weekend retreat center as NISA becomes its own nonprofit after being managed by Wisdom since 2004. These activities were funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and hosted by Daybreak Star Culture Center at Discovery Park in Seattle.

Wisdom plans to hold tribal storytelling events in the Portland area and is seeking sponsors and other funding sources so they can continue into the future.

>>>> August 2017 >>>>

Eight Emerging Native Filmmakers finalized production of their own short documentary films they learned to produce during the summer months. They learned video field production in June, began to record in July and completed post production editing by the end of August. This group also served as our Native Peer Mentors during the summer at the NAYA summer science and culture camp sessions, learning advanced environmental science, leadership and mentoring as well as film production.  We appreciate the support of our funders: Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts. We enjoyed our partnership with Open Signal which trained two emerging Native filmmakers inn TV studio production to support behind the scenes at Discovering Our Story Television Program which is broadcast live monthly at their studios.

Multimedia intern Adrienne Moat operating Multimedia intern Marcos Alatorre
(Left: Multimedia intern Adrienne Moat operating HDTV Broadcast camera at Open Signal for Discovering Our Story TV show, Right: Multimedia intern Marcos Alatorre operating HDTV camera at Open Signal for Discovering Our Story TV show)

>>>> July 2017 >>>>

Wisdom’s Native youth leadership initiative, Discovering Yidong Xinag* provided fun environmental education classes at the Native American Youth and Family Center for 67 youth who enjoyed fun service learning in local natural areas. In the spring, we had also provided training for more than 100 7th grade students at Highland Park Middle School. This culturally tailored multimedia curriculum is now expanding into the DYX Educational Toolkit for tribes with the addition of film clips from the Native Wisdom Documentary Film Series being added to the lesson plans. We are piloting it in 2018 in partnership with Oregon tribes and anticipate it will help fulfill the mandate that Oregon tribal history and heritage will be taught in public schools of Oregon starting in 2019. (*means “Discovering the Old Wisdom” in Deg Xinag dialect of Athabascan)

We have grown thanks to generous support from Miller Foundation, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Charlotte Martin Foundation and Nike N-7. We are now seeking partnerships and funding to continue expansion into 2018.

>>>> June 2017 >>>>

Our Native American crew at Wisdom Workforce Development LLC gained new work opportunities thanks to partnerships with Friends of Trees, WHPacific and West Multnomah Soil and Waters Conservation District. They had a range of opportunities from planting and mulching trees in Lents and other neighborhoods, to planting Native plant species in a natural area in Lake Oswego and at NARA Northwest, and helping WMSWCD add diversity issues to their trainings for partners and community members.

 
(Left: Wisdom Workforce finishing Beaver cages at NARA, Right: Wisdom Workforce installing Beaver cages around trees at NARA)

>>>> May 2017 >>>>

Wisdom’s team traveled to Corvallis and Eugene in May to hold Film Screening and Community Consultation events in partnership with the Oregon State University Native American Longhouse and University of Oregon’s Tribal Climate Program. Funders for this outreach included the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and the Oregon Cultural Trust. The Wisdom Workforce Development interns traveled to Corvallis to attend OSU School of Forestry’s Traditional Ecological Knowledge Conference. Many thanks to Gail Woodside and Valerie Goodness who helped to arrange these events.

We will continue to hold Film Screenings and Community Consultations for our friends and colleagues into 2018 upon request from sponsors.

  
(Top Left: Presenters at Traditional Ecological Knowledge Conference at OSU, Top Right: Wisdom at the OSU Longhouse, Bottom Left: Wisdom on stage in Eugene)

>>>> April 2017 >>>>

The Native Wisdom Documentary Film Festival was held in Portland on Saturday, April 15 for 175 guests. Two new documentary films were shown featuring Oregon tribes, their emerging environmental issues and rich cultural arts. Wisdom’s film production team led by Executive Producer Rose High Bear and Producer/Director Larry Johnson (Lawrence Johnson Productions) worked for three years years to fund, record and produce these two films. They are part of the series of four short documentary films which have been produced since 2012. Partners include the Northwest Film Center and funders Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Oregon Cultural Trust, Spirit Mountain Community Fund and Regional Arts and Culture Council.

Wisdom is continuing to seek funding support for the upcoming production of two full length documentary films and is continuing to screen the short docs that have been produced.

 
(Left: Larry Johnson and Rose Highbear on production, Right: Rose HighBear interviewing Tom Younker (Coquille) for Native Wisdom Films)

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.