Branches of work

Academics

In 1993 WISN established the world’s first advanced degree program taught from an Indigenous perspective. Graduates have gone on to have careers in diplomacy (United Nations), conservation, law, politics and more. The Master’s program in Indigenous Science and Peace Studies (ISPS)-soon to add a PhD as well—and the launch of the Indigenous Science Research Institute will bring together Indigenous knowledge systems globally and link these inquiries and ways of knowing to the best of Western scientific theory and practice. This will expand our reach and intergenerational sharing of knowledge even further. “I know I wouldn't have gotten into my United Nations position if not for the guidance I received from Indigenous Mind. I would encourage anyone who takes an interest in this educational program to answer the call." - Program graduate Maryka Paquette, ’13.

Indigenous Science

Historically, Western Science has deprecated, diminished and excluded indigenous relational and sustainable science. Now, faced with multiple global crises, Western scientists are recognizing the cultural importance of Indigenous Science. WISN partners with and extends support to a global network of Indigenous Cultural Practitioners and an international advisory council of Elders serving a population of approximately 30,000 people. Partners from Western science are vetted by WISN and partner ICPs to ensure ethical collaboration with Indigenous communities.

Networking

Historically, Indigenous communities connected globally via ceremonies, migrations, trade routes and sacred sites or nodes of interaction. Knowledge was shared and actions taken through relationships established in oral history and language. For hundreds of years, colonial forces have isolated indigenous communities, fostered disparity, inequity and severed networks and connections. Fragmentation of sophisticated networks have isolated earth-based knowledge systems into metaphoric islands. Yet, in remote settings, vital knowledge is continuing to be recorded and passed down intergenerationally. These knowledge and network corridors must now be re-established. Through our networking programs, we provide opportunities for ICPs and Elders to share their ideas and visions with others and take actions for their self-determination and expertise on a global scale deriving innovative approaches and solutions to environmental and social issues.

Support

Conventional grant-giving processes are bound in Western hierarchical thought, which precludes the most culturally informed Indigenous thinkers. Technological, educational and communication restrictions faced by many Indigenous communities marginalizes blocking access to resources vital to our survival, quality of life, and the transmission of intergenerational knowledge. WISN has launched a grant giving process that is flexible and curated according to the abilities and strengths of the communities we serve. WISN provides culturally appropriate support to ICPs at risk. Indigenous Elders and ICPs possess a body of knowledge that no one else has, and is critically important for planetary sustainability and for the youth who will inherit this earth. ICPs continue to be increasingly marginalized as the struggle for the earth’s resources intensifies, ICPs, environmental defenders are routinely being murdered, arrested and intimidated. Alongside the physical abuses, governments and businesses use courts and legal systems to silence those who threaten their interests.