“The times we are in are critical—the Earth is dying. The people—Indigenous Elders and Indigenous Cultural Practitioners—who hold and are able to transmit critical knowledge of what we need to survive are actively prevented from being able to share their knowledge. The purpose of WISN, is to create places for ethical collaboration between the two ways of knowing—Indigenous and Western—not only for the survival of the knowledge systems, but for life itself.”
– Dr. Apela Colorado
Traditional knowledge passed on orally and intergenerationally is the last reservoir of sustainable knowledge for our planet. Historical colonialism and genocide, and ongoing globalization, have severed the knowledge of who we are, where we come from, and what we’re here for. It’s led to devastating social, economic and environmental impacts as Indigenous communities are often located in/near intact ecosystems. Often, the target of the most extreme violence are community Elders and Indigenous Cultural Practitioners (ICPs) who serve as leaders and teachers, passing on traditional cultural knowledge and environmental histories as well as social and land management strategies that sustain healthy human populations alongside healthy natural ecosystems, ensuring the survival of their cultures and, ultimately, the planet.
For 30+ years, Worldwide Indigenous Science Network (WISN), 501(c)(3), has brought Indigenous and Western science together to preserve and protect Indigenous Knowledge Systems and the carriers of this wisdom for future generations, to protect sacred sites and species, and to help students remember their indigenosity and connection to life. Our innovative educational programs, networking of Elders and Indigenous Cultural Practitioners, dreamwork and the revival of origin stories, cutting-edge, blended Indigenous / Western research, and an Indigenous regranting program have impacted programs at the United Nations, global conservation efforts, Indigenous research, and higher education.