Wisdom of the Elders has turned to crowdfunding as a means to match National Endowment for the Arts funding for the third and fourth segments of their Climate and Native Wisdom film series.
The Climate and Native Wisdom film series is an opportunity to learn about our changing environment through the astute observations of Native elders, and their traditional knowledge gleaned through their subsistence on the land and their knowledge passed down from their ancestors, who have sustained these lands for thousands of years.
Their stories are told through the beauty of tribal traditions – music, dance, storytelling and traditional arts.
As we all take notice of climate issues, people and science are increasingly seeking the perceptive observations of self-sustaining Native peoples and elders to help their own families and communities adapt to, and mitigate its effects.
The Wisdom film crew will take viewers to the coastal tribal nations in Oregon, who face such threats as sea level rise, ocean acidification, flooding and erosion, and who also know, for example, which plants do well under stressed conditions from their generations of knowledge. Wisdom will interview the scientists, too, who work with the tribal nations in mitigating and adapting to changing climate conditions.
In the first two films in the series Wisdom’s film crew traveled to Alaska over several years to record Native elders, cultural leaders and scientists, where Native peoples have experienced a broad range of unprecedented climate issues for more than 50 years.
One resulting documentary short, Climate and Native Wisdom: The People of the Caribou, features executive producer Rose High Bear’s Alaska Athabascan peoples and their response to environmental and climate issues.
The second film, Climate and Native Wisdom: The People of the Whale features the Inupiaq, and was hand selected by the judges of the Global Film Awards and the IndieFEST Humanitarian Awards to be given the Award of Distinction, “as a film that represents the spirit of humanitarianism from the entire pool of entries throughout 2015.”
IndieFEST Film Awards also recognized the Athabascan film with an Award of Merit, and the Inupiaq film with an Award of Excellence. The Wisdom of the Elders Radio Programs are distributed through Koahnic Broadcasting’s Native Voice One to 53 Indian radio stations around the country.
Wisdom formed the Native Climate Council in early 2015 to discuss what climate issues are of concern to Native communities in Oregon. The council meets in the Portland area, and a teleconference line connects the group around the state.
If you cannot donate funds, Wisdom is hoping readers will forward their message and their updates, found on their website Wisdom of the Elders to their own social networks to help them complete production in 2016. If you’d like to donate your time, contact Nico Wind at Wisdom of the Elders.
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