Dear Community Wisdom Supporters,
Thanks to the continued support of our family of donors, 2016 was an incredible year of growth and capacity building for Sacred Fire Foundation. We furthered our mission by increasing our grant program awards, which touched all five continents. We produced three Voices of Wisdom events and presented the Wisdom Treasure Award to Marcos Terena.
Recognizing the importance of the perspective held by the Elders, we formed an Indigenous Advisory Board to provide guidance and input into our program offerings.
After three years of volunteer work and leadership, Keiko Cronin stepped down from the Executive Director position. During her tenure, she created the stability that allowed us to hire our first full time Executive Director and several other part-time staff members.
The reach and recognition of our work increased as we participated in international conferences in Peru, South Africa and the United States. We engaged in impact assessment of our programs in order to evaluate and improve the fulfillment of our mission.
I hope you enjoy this report, in which we share highlights and information about our work in 2016.
With best regards,
David Wiley, Chairman of the Board
Protecting the Sacred
Through the generosity of our donors, in 2016 we disbursed the largest amount of funds in our history and expanded to cover all 5 continents!
We partnered with projects in 7 focus areas
A delegation of Indigenous leaders travelled to New Zealand to learn from the Maori experience of achieving legal “personhood” for the Whanganui River so they can protect their own sacred lands.
Mamos Elders and shamans led an extraordinary journey to the 44 sacred sites along the ‘Black Line’ of the Sierra Nevada in Colombia, passing on their sacred technologies to apprentices. This intricate web of exchange and offerings maintains the balance of nature for the benefit of all of humanity.
Shipibo children in Peru received teachings about medicinal plants and ceremonies, learning to be the future shamans of their communities in an area where migration and cultural loss is the common fate of youth.
Food and Healing
In the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, Tseltal Elders worked with youth and children on recovering lost medicinal plants and ancient knowledge of healing techniques, as well as the improvement of the community gardens for future generations.
Language, Art and Culture
Q’eqchi Maya communities in Guatemala and Belize shared the origin stories of their sacred site with younger generations, who wrote and illustrated these important stories for their communities. These spiritual narratives had been disregarded and dishonored by the church and were in danger of disappearing completely.
Ritual and Ceremony
The Raramuri community of Mogotavo (Chihuahua, Mexico) continued their work of revitalizing their culture and the traditional knowledge essential to the survival of their people. Among other sacred traditions, they celebrated and restored the Yumari ritual, a prayer for blessings and maintenance of the union between man, Nature and Onoruame, the Great Grandfather God.
At the Youth and Elders Camp in Arctic Village, Alaska, Gwich’in Elders taught youth how to build traditional dog sleds using local materials and keep their craftsmanship alive. The project was hugely successful and one student was so inspired she now makes and sells her own handcrafted dog sleds in her community.
Interactive Map of 2016 Grants
Tribes / Clans Funded in 2016
|Mexico||Wixárika, Rarámuri, Tseltal, Maya and Tsotsil|
|United States||Gwich’in, Laguna Pueblo, Sioux and intertribal programs|
In support of the defense of water and sacred lands, we provided funds for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. In April 2016, after years of battling the Dakota Access Pipeline, they occupied a piece of land and, through ceremony and prayer, engaged in peaceful protest of the pipeline.
–Luis Adalberto López Tuyub, Yucatec Maya,
Participant of the Yakanal Indigenous Youth Cultural Exchange Program
Voices of Wisdom
In 2016 we had 3 events where 123 participants were touched by the wisdom of the Elders
VOW Southeast in Asheville N.C. with Diane Longboat and Wanbdi Wakita
–Judy Mann Participant at VOW Toronto, September 2016
Wisdom Treasure Award
The Wisdom Treasure Award is presented annually to honor the work of an Indigenous Elder who has demonstrated lifelong achievement in bringing wisdom, leadership and learning to their people and their community. On October 26th, Sacred Fire Foundation presented Xané leader Marcos Terena with the Wisdom Treasure Award to honor him for his leadership and tireless work for on behalf of Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Marcos has devoted his life to working for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and forMother Earth herself. In 1977, Terena founded the first Indigenous political movementin Brazil the Union of Indigenous Nations. The award ceremony took place during the Latin America Indigenous Funders Conference in Lima, Peru.
– Marcos Terena
Thank you for your support!
We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of the people and organizations that have made this work possible. Without your financial support and your friendship, we would not be able to partner with so many wonderful Indigenous Communities all over the world.
Trustee and donor since 2007