17th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Source: UNDESA Indigenous communities play a vital role as custodians of our planet, possessing vital knowledge that will support global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But despite progress to protect their rights, many of the world’s 370...
Voces de Sabiduría Ancestral

Voces de Sabiduría Ancestral

By Alison Wearing In the foothills of Meztitla, beneath the sacred cliffs of Tepoztlán, the 2018 Voices of Wisdom event, Voces de la Sabiduría, lit its flame.  Jacaranda blossoms shimmered in the bone-dry air and dust rose from the roads and footpaths. It was a...
How Indigenous knowledge advances modern science and technology

How Indigenous knowledge advances modern science and technology

  Indigenous knowledge has aided and enhanced modern science and technology for centuries, Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, speaks about climate change at the global COP22 conference in Marrakech, Morocco, in November 2016. (AP Photo/Mosa’ab...
Voices of Wisdom in Olympia, Washington

Voices of Wisdom in Olympia, Washington

After an usually dry summer in Olympia, Washington, a welcoming rain greeted Yakama Nation elder Levina Wilkins, Hereditary Chief of the Lummi Nation Tsi’li’xw (Bill James), and 35 people who came from Oregon, California, and Washington state to gather around a consecrated fire. The group listened as Levina and Bill shared stories of their upbringing, the elders that cared for and guided them, and the traditions that they pass on to young people today.

2017 Voices of Wisdom Southeast

2017 Voices of Wisdom Southeast

By Cindy Fogle Imagine a spectacular 360 view of the Blue Ridge Mountains atop a grassy knoll in Weaverville, NC. Here, people of all ages, from infants and toddlers, to folks in their wisdom years, came together to experience the sacred. The ancestors gathered, too,...
Voices of Wisdom at the Blue Deer Center August 22 and 23, 2017

Voices of Wisdom at the Blue Deer Center August 22 and 23, 2017

The Voices of Wisdom event at the beautiful Blue Deer Center was a powerful experience and many of us who attended feel we grew significantly from participating in it. Gail Whitlow, a Mohawk Elder, presented first, explaining that for centuries, prior to the white people’s arrival, her Mohawk ancestors had used this land for sacred gatherings.

Join us in Celebrating Ancestral Wisdom

Join us in Celebrating Ancestral Wisdom

Ancestral wisdom, held by Indigenous elders the world over, is the knowledge gained and kept for centuries by the Indigenous Peoples of the world. Not only does it hold the key to our survival, but it also teaches us how to live in right and balanced relationship with everything and everyone around us.

World Indigenous Peoples’ Day

World Indigenous Peoples’ Day

World Indigenous Peoples’ Day (August 9), which commemorates the tenth anniversary of the signing of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is bittersweet this year. While much progress has been made in the last decade, there is much work to be done to honor Indigenous communities and their world views.

Two Circles – Gratitude for the Past, Hope for the Future

Two Circles – Gratitude for the Past, Hope for the Future

By Keiko Cronin, SFF President of the Board We gathered before dawn on a July morning in the chilly Montana air to be warmly welcomed by the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth.  This was a momentous day – a turning point in the unfolding story of humanity...
A day at Nii Juinti

A day at Nii Juinti

A good part of the grant received from Sacred Fire Foundation allowed the Nii Juinti school to buy all the necessary instruments and pay the workforce for cleaning, preparing and planting a wide variety of medicine plants typically utilized in the Shipibo culture by shamans.

Busuréliame:  Awakening the Conscience in the Sierra Tarahumara

Busuréliame:  Awakening the Conscience in the Sierra Tarahumara

The Yumari Project, which is coordinated by Tarahumara shaman and artist, Makawi, has evolved into a more comprehensive program for cultural awakening in the community of Mogotavo. The Tarahumara word for cultural education is busuréliame, which signifies to awake the conscience of the pueblo to universal knowledge.

Experiencing Elder Wisdom in Toronto

Experiencing Elder Wisdom in Toronto

I attended the Voices of Wisdom event, held in near Toronto, Ontario, Canada on September 24 and 25, 2016. The event featured the elders Kahontakwas Diane Longboat, Mohawk elder, and Wanbdi Wakita, a Dakota elder. Both of these elders are spiritual leaders in their ancestral communities, and leaders in their professions in the greater community.

Feeling the Heart of the World at Voices of Wisdom

Feeling the Heart of the World at Voices of Wisdom

Listening to Kahontakwas, Diane Longboat, and Taoyewakanwi (Her Ways Are Sacred), Charlene O’Rourke, at the Voices of Wisdom at the Blue Deer Center June 11-12 was like a waking dream for me.

Reviving A River, Reviving A Lost Culture

Reviving A River, Reviving A Lost Culture

“The elders used to call Myntdu River their mother,” shares H. H. Mohrmen, a Jaintia Unitarian minister and an environmentalist from Meghalaya. Mohrmen is in a jeep with journalists, who are traveling to cover a unique riverine festival that is hosted by elders from communities downstream of Myntdu. The drive on winding roads in the West Jaintia Hills passes by tall areca nut trees wrapped in pepper vines. Below, a rust-hued riverbank glistens in the sun.

Concentric Circles Sharing Fire at the Centre

Concentric Circles Sharing Fire at the Centre

Voices of Wisdom, in Asheville NC, completed one circle and initiated another. Before I knew anything about the Sacred Fire Community or Foundation, I knew Wanbdi Wakita. The circle began about 15 years ago, in the heat of Wanbdi’s Purification Ceremony, where I prayed to my Ancestors to help guide me on my journey.

Wanbdi Wakita, the calling of a Holy Man

Wanbdi Wakita, the calling of a Holy Man

Wanbdi Wakita, whose name translates into English as Looking Eagle, was born at home with the help of a midwife on a breezy day in October in the community of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. It was 1940. Overseas the world was at war, but a different kind of struggle was taking place at home.

Words from the Mamos. Insights from the Black Line Journey 2015

Words from the Mamos. Insights from the Black Line Journey 2015

The Indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Martha in Colombia have a mission of utmost importance: to bring healing and balance to the earth for the benefit of all of humanity through their spiritual work of offerings and ceremony. They consider their land to be the heart of the world, contained by an invisible “Black Line.”

Maasai youth go on a life changing journey back to tradition

Maasai youth go on a life changing journey back to tradition

The Maasai youth, whose people reside and travel along the border between Kenya and Tanzania, sit in the crosshairs of modernization. Like many indigenous youth they face immense pressure by outside forces attempting to instill in them that their ways are backwards, irrelevant and something for which they should be ashamed.

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