eNewsletter from Wisdom of the Elders
November 2018



Greetings to our Friends of Wisdom of the Elders, Inc.,

I would like to introduce myself in brief. My name is Teresa Montana. I am Eastern Cherokee and Dakota. I attended Southern Oregon State College (Southern Oregon University) in Ashland, Oregon, University of Oregon, Eugene, and Washington State University, Vancouver to name a few.

I am a United States Army Veteran, Medic. I am on the Advisory Board for the Native American Community at Washington State University, Vancouver and most recently joined the Board of Trustees for Clark County Historical Society, Vancouver.

I initially came to Wisdom of the Elders in 2012 as a member of the Advisory Council to assist in the writing and development of the Discovering Our Story curriculum. I was asked to return in March of this year to continue coordinating that same program for the Oregon Department of Corrections.

In short order I was asked to take the position of Assistant Executive Director and now will be moving into the Executive Director position at the beginning of 2019.

I must say, I am beyond delighted to head up Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. on behalf of all our Indigenous community and all our partners in the Portland Metro area.

Upon first being introduced to Wisdom, I was immediately moved in my heart to do everything I could to work with and support all that Wisdom represents. The sharing of our Indigenous knowledge to enhance our relatives’ growth and understanding of who we are and what gifts were bestowed on us by our Creator as a people. To be able to teach about those things that makes us unique and distinct, to open the minds and hearts of all people who we may come across in our daily walk is such a huge privilege and honor!

I am looking forward to the next 25 years of Wisdom of the Elders. I will do all I can with the help of our staff, partners and collaborators to expand our reach, expand our knowledge and expand the depths of understanding the Indigenous Ways of Being while creating an atmosphere of race reconciliation.

My most humble thanks and appreciation for being asked to serve.


We would like to invite you to join us in our 25th Year Celebration and recognition of Rose High Bear on her birthday to be held on November 14th.  We will celebrate all the hard work and dedication Rose has invested in our beloved Wisdom of the Elders and share the vision of the Next 25 years!

On that note, Rose was recently featured in Our Prosperous World, a blog edited by Sara DeHoff, which “offers resources for building a vibrant global community and provides tools and training to help diverse groups work together better.” The link is at:  https://www.ourprosperousworld.com/cultivating-spiritual-prosperity/.

Come celebrate in recognition of Rose High Bear



Wisdom’s Multimedia Producer Kunu Bearchum is a 2018 DreamStarter, which Billy Mills, Founder of Running Strong for Native American Youth created in 2015. He is heading a project that uses Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and first foods to highlight biomedical and nutrition science to young Native Americans as part of a week-long summer science quest.

This summer day camp included a field trip to the first foods garden at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) with Rosa Frutos (Warm Springs), Program coordinator for the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence and Dove Spector, Senior Research Assistant. The group also took a trip to Mt Hood to gather water and first foods with Marie Knight and Jessica Rojas, and another trip up the Columbia River Gorge with Storyteller Ed Edmo (Shoshone-Bannock) to tour the She Who Watches petroglyphs and learn about Native American life on the river before Celilo Falls was flooded. The youth also enjoyed service learning activities at Wisdom Gardens located in back of Wisdom’s office, adjacent to Kelly Butte Natural Area in SE Portland.

We’re proud to announce that Kunu was also nominated for two 2018 Native American Music Awards. He also presented an award at the NAMMY Award Ceremony at Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino in Niagara Falls, New York in October.  His music video “So Precious” has also been chosen for the 2018 LA SkinsFest, which is taking place November 13-18 in Los Angeles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o07Vk1s1Abk



This Sunday, November 4, Wisdom of the Elders will broadcast its next issue of Discovering our Story Television Program. You’re welcome to tune in. The program airs on the first Sunday of every month at 1:00 PM on Comcast Channel 11. Our program is re-broadcast on the Tuesday following the live studio broadcast at 10:00 PM on Comcast Channel 22, and again on the Friday following the live studio broadcast at 9:00 AM on Comcast Channel 23.

Our guest will be Darlene Foster, Wasco/Warm Springs elder, traditional storyteller and traditional food gatherer with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs. She served as a consultant with Wisdom during production of its third series of Wisdom of the Elders Radio Programs in 2005. She also served as an Advisory Council member of the Northwest Indian Storytellers Association.

Darlene serves as Gambling Prevention Outreach Specialist at Native American Rehabilitation Association in Portland, Oregon and lives with her family in Milwaukie, Oregon. Please tune in at 1:00 pm, Sunday the 4th!



Wisdom’s multimedia team, Tim Burgess (Paiute, Shoshone) and Kunu Bearchum (Northern Cheyenne, Hochunk) plus Consultant Larry Johnson traveled to southern Oregon recently. They filmed interviews with world renowned Takelma Grandma Aggie (Agnes Baker Pilgrim), and Klamath Modoc visual artist Ka’ila Farrell-Smith for our ongoing Native Wisdom Documentary Film series. They also gathered b-roll for the documentary project.

Here are some behind the scenes photos from our trip to Southern Oregon!

Takelma Grandma Aggie (Agnes Baker Pilgrim)

Ka’ila Farrell-Smith (Klamath Modoc)



Wisdom Workforce Development’s Fall 2018 Internship is underway again. The WWD Interns work with partners in the field conducting service learning activities two days a week and classroom education one day a week. The interns have an opportunity learn from experiences with almost two dozen collaborative partners including Metro, Portland Bureau of Environmental Service, Portland Parks and Recreation, Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Friends of Trees and Zenger Farms.

The in-class training, led by Wisdom’s Education Coordinator Dawn Lowe (Mohawk, Apache, Hawaiian) covers topics like habitat restoration, invasive species identification, site assessments, indigenous plant species recognition, phytoremediation, climate change solutions and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK).

Recently, the WWD interns had an opportunity to compare the dangerous Poison Hemlock or Conium Maculatum. Poison Hemlock is also known by other common names such as: English Hemlock, Australian Carrot Fern, Irish devil’s bread, devil’s porridge, poison parsley, spotted corobane and spotted hemlock. This plant is often confused with similar looking plants like fennel, chervil, anise, coltsfoot, Queen Anne’s Lace, wild parsley, Osha and wild carrot. The most distinctive feature of poison hemlock is that the entire plant is hairless. In contrast, the look-a-likes have hair somewhere on the plant such as the stem, leaf or root surface. Poison hemlock also has purple spotting towards the bottom of the stem that goes into a solid purple before going into the ground.

Poison hemlock is a highly toxic herbaceous flowering plant in the carrot family Apiaceae. It is native to parts of Europe and Northern Africa. A hardy plant capable of living in a variety of environments, hemlock is widely naturalized in the Pacific Northwest.

The WWD interns learn how to distinguish between poisonous lookalikes that are non-native and those plants that are similar but native to the region. Interns compared the root of the Poison hemlock to the Osha Root and noted the difference in color i.e. Poison Hemlock root being hairless and creamy white, Osha brown with crown of root hairy.

The interns took notes and cell phone photos for easy identification. We also discussed environments poison-hemlock likes to grow in and how the Pacific Northwest is prime because of its moist climate.



The Wisdom Workforce Internship crew has had many wonderful service learning opportunities working with Luke Bonham, Residents Assets Manager with Rose Community Development Corporation this year.

Our biggest effort most recently completed has been to carry out landscape improvements at Bellrose Station, its apartment complex in SE Portland. Aging junipers were removed that obstructed visibility and harbored rodents. The grounds were then mulched and prepared for planting this fall. A variety of over 190 low maintenance and pollinator shrubs were planted at the main entrance, and at the entrances of residents’ apartments.

Eight trees were planted to provide shade in the summer. An arborvitae hedge was installed for screening adjacent to the children’s playgrounds and 10 raised bed boxes were built for vegetable gardening.

It has been rewarding to the interns and residents alike to witness the transformation. This project was especially rewarding for the variety of skills it provided our interns to develop. Our Crew Leaders led newer members which helped to build their work and leadership skills.

In addition to working at Bellrose Station, Wisdom Workforce Development has been able to work at six housing properties this year, removal invasive vegetation, planting native plants in bio-swales and pollinator borders, mulching to protect soils and even upgrading a playground. Thank you, Rose CDC for providing us these opportunities to make a difference revitalizing  homes of our community members.

Wisdom Workforce Development offers two three-month internships to Native American adults in the Portland area, one in spring and one in fall. It provides environmental assessment and habitat restoration training both in the classroom and in the field with diverse hands on service learning experiences.


ROSE Community Development Corporation is a non-profit dedicated to revitalizing outer southeast Portland neighborhoods by providing affordable housing, improving economic conditions and providing the tools and supports community residents need to improve their quality of Life.

From the website at  https://rosecdc.org/:  Rose CDC is dedicated to Revitalizing Outer Southeast Portland neighborhoods, through the development of good homes and economic opportunities. We are rooted in the belief that affordable housing gives people the opportunity to build better lives. But since our first project — rehabilitating a single house in Lents for a low-income family in 1992 — our work to revitalize our community has extended far beyond housing. We are improving economic conditions in our neighborhoods and giving people the tools and support they need to improve their lives.


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