Wisdom of the Elders

News & Invitations from Wisdom of the Elders
Thursday April 9, 2015

An Evening with
Wisdom of the Elders:
Save the Date

Wisdom’s cultural gathering, An Evening with Wisdom of the Elders will be held on Summer Solstice again this year. Be sure to set aside the evening of Friday, June 19 to join us again for our annual celebration of Native American culture and the greatness of our elders.

We are currently offering a reduced price to our friends to purchase tickets before the end of April and save. You can purchase HERE.

Wisdom will host a salmon dinner, silent auction, music, storytelling by Wisdom co-founder Rose High Bear, and a stirring keynote address by Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission Executive Director Paul Lumley (Yakama). CRITFC has been celebrating last fall’s record-breaking chinook and sockeye salmon returns, the biggest returns since the Bonneville Dam was built in 1938. Paul will discuss the restoration of salmon culture among the Columbia River tribes.

Wisdom presenting sponsor is Providence Health and Services. Metro and Oregon Health Authority have been sponsors since we began holding our cultural celebrations and will sponsor again this year.

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2014.05 DOStv FramegrabWisdom Celebrates Five Years of Discovering Our Story Television Program:
Wisdom Producer Daniel Dixon (Menominee and Mohican) celebrated with a feast prepared by his wife Elysia on Sunday as Discovering Our Story Television Program aired live for the fifth year! Our program aired live at 1:00 pm at Portland Community Media Television and on Comcast Channel 11. We celebrated our fifth year of television broadcasts with support from our Native crew and friend producers. Some of our team members have shown up to help us out the first Sunday of the month for the past five years.

Our special guest was Ciarra Greene (Nez Perce) who is Wisdom Workforce Coordinator and master’s student in STEM Education at Portland State University. Ciarra has a degree in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University and is strengthening our efforts to document our upcoming habitat restoration work on public lands. Ciarra joined program hosts Bill Ray (Klamath) and Nico Wind (Assiniboine, Ojibwe) and discussed her career and recent work at Wisdom, and was joined by executive producer Rose High Bear (Deg Hit’an Dine).

The anniversary is marked by re-broadcast of archived Discovering Our Story TV Programs, airing weekly until June 2015, on Tuesdays at 9am on Comcast Ch. 11, Wednesdays at 3pm on Comcast Ch. 23, and Thursdays at 5pm on Comcast Ch. 22.

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FALCON 3Falcon Birds Eye:

A “gamut of craziness” sent Native artist Falcon Birds Eye to prison; the teachings of elders, including Martin and Rose High Bear, were the beacon for his “180-degree” turn to a positive, creative life. In gratitude, Falcon’s art will be showcased at the fourth annual An Evening with Wisdom of the Elders on June 19.

While serving 23 years in Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Falcon, who identifies himself as Pima-Mexican-Welsh, discovered the spirituality and teachings of grandmothers and the “traditions of family,” and he partook of lodges and ceremonies, all of which helped him help himself turn his life around.

Crucial to Falcon during his imprisonment was listening to the High Bears’ tapes. Those audiotapes, Falcon says, helped him “see life as grander than what society sees.” For that, he is thankful, and “to give back to Wisdom,” he will auction one of his works at the fundraising dinner.

What Friends of Wisdom will experience at the June event are works showing Falcon’s brightly colored palette and circular art. A bird’s-eye view.

More deeply, however, his work “reflects what I see.” His pieces vibrate with the beauty of life and do not shy away from color – not in the least. One of his aims, achieved through the circles and color, is to reveal the “bigger beauty of life.”

“We’re caught up in a square life,” Falcon says, but “in a circle you don’t hit corners.” Art, he adds, “releases inner beauty.”

In the months leading up to Wisdom’s fundraising event, we will share Falcon’s uplifting turnaround story. In addition to the auction donation, other paintings by Falcon will be for sale at the dinner.

You won’t want to miss any of Falcon’s story or An Evening with Wisdom of the Elders.



2013 SFSC Youth
Discovering Yidong Xinag activities for Native Youth:
Once again this summer, Wisdom will offer our Native youth leadership initiative, Discovering Yidong Xinag, to Native youth in the Portland area. We have developed culturally tailored multimedia environmental and climate curriculum designed to engage Native youth in environmental and other STEM educational and career pursuits. We will partner with Native American Youth and Family Center and Beaverton School’s Title VII Indian Education program to provide fun classroom learning along with field trips to Portland’s natural areas. Students will learn about environmental assessment, habitat restoration, GIS mapping, and learn to take digital images and video as part of the project.
Wisdom developed this project because Native Americans are among the most under-represented groups in STEM education and professions. While some minority groups have experienced improved levels of engagement with STEM, research shows that the numbers of Native Americans earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in STEM fields has remained flat for the past few decades. This project addresses this problem by engaging youth from the Portland area in a participatory research project that strengthens ties between traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), Native American cultural arts and western science education. You’ll be hearing more about our project in the coming months and we will be sharing photos at our website.



Dreamstarter Grant from Running Strong for American Indian Youth:
Wisdom has just received a Dreamstarter grant for the Native Peer Mentor Program from Running Strong for American Indian Youth.
We would like to honor and acknowledge grant recipient Jacquelyn Nielsen (Shoshone) who will help to fulfill the project by serving as liaison to Native youth participating in Wisdom’s Native Peer Mentor Project. She and Wisdom submitted a proposal to Running Strong for American Indian Youth for our Discovering Yidong Xinag Project and its Peer Mentor Project by adapting plans to strengthen health and wellness for participating youth. She’ll be traveling to Washington DC later in April along with Wisdom staff to receive specialized training and an inspirational session with Billy Mills, Founder of Running Strong and Olympic gold medal winner of the 10,000 meter race in Tokyo in 1964.
Jacquelyn Nielsen and Wisdom staff have two years of experience working together. Jacquelyn served as youth advisory council member on Wisdom’s Discovering Our Story Advisory Council in 2013 and 2014. This council oversees the ongoing development of Wisdom’s health and wellness curriculum, Discovering Our Story Program, and its use by Native and non-Native schools and other community organizations. Jacqueline also served as Native Peer Mentor for Wisdom’s Discovering Yidong Xinag. She received training in mentoring and leadership skills, environmental and climate science, and video field production and post-production editing. She then served during Native Saturday Science Academies in the spring of 2014 and at Summer Field Science Camps in the summer of 2014.
Running Strong for American Indian Youth developed the Dreamstarter Grant Program because it believes in the dreams of young American Indians: Creating stronger communities, overcoming poverty, and building a better tomorrow for themselves and their families. We’re humbled and excited to receive this support and look forward to sharing details about our project over the next year. You’ll probably be hearing from Jacquelyn in a future newsletter article.

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Discovering Yidong Xinag – “The Old Wisdom”

STEAM pilot at Highland Park Middle School:

Wisdom will provide Discovering Yidong Xinag climate and culture curriculum to students at Highland Park STEM Middle School in April. School Principal David Nieslanik read an Oregonian article and a school newsletter article about Wisdom’s 2014 Summer STEAM Science Camp for Native students at Beaverton.
Principal Nieslanik contacted Beaverton School District’s Title VII Indian Ed coordinator Louise Wilmes and asked how he might be able to provide our materials to their students to strengthen their engagement with STEM fields by integrating Native American cultural arts. They are a partner in the Portland Metro STEM Partnership and felt that the strengthening STEM education through Native American cultural arts could be successful with their diverse student body which has 49% students of color and 37% low-income based on their participation in reduced and free lunch programs.
Wisdom agreed to help and will be offering this to their students during the spring for the next three years including an assessment of the educational success factors.


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