Mona Polacca is a Hopi Havasupai and Tewa elder, from Arizona. She is one of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers – a group of wise elders from around the world promoting a call of basic consciousness that we are all related.
From an early age, she began a journey of understanding and learning old ways, word for word, through the teachings of Elders who trusted her to carry the knowledge and keep the wisdom for the benefit of Indigenous Peoples.
She is an author in social sciences, has served as Treasurer for her tribe, and is known for her social activism and leadership. Her work includes the drafting of Water Declarations, as a “call for protection of the cultural and sacred waters” on the lands and territories of the Indigenous peoples of the world, and planning the Indigenous World Forum on Water and Peace.
CHIEF PHIL LANE JR.
Chief Phil Lane Jr. is an enrolled member of the Yankton Dakota and Chickasaw First Nations and is an internationally recognized leader in human and community development.
During the past 44 years, he has worked with Indigenous peoples in North, Central and South America, Micronesia, South East Asia, India, Hawaii and Africa. He served 16 years as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Phil has now stepped into further global leadership as Chairman of the Four Worlds International Institute (FWII) and Four Directions International. The Institute’s central initiative is the promotion of The Fourth Way.
The focus of The Fourth Way is contributing to the unification of the Human Family by co-creating community-based, culturally-respectful, principal-centered strategies and programming that transcends assimilation, resignation, and conflict.
CHIEF PHIL LANE JR.
Mauricio Cordova is an economist (LSE/UT Austin) and after graduating worked at Intel Corporation.
He then started a small online tourism company in Barcelona and a couple of online campaigns, one for Amazon conservation (he also collaborated with Caminoverde.org) and another one to prevent GMO imports into Peru. Mauricio was born in Peru, has lived in Chile, the US, England, Germany and Spain.
This year, he started the Faircap project, a small, low cost, open source, portable water filter that can be screwed into any plastic bottle, trying to help solve the problem of access to clean water in developing countries.
Mauricio has always been interested in how education, innovation, knowledge sharing and technology could improve people’s lives. He is specially interested in promoting open collaborative spaces, open innovation for social and environmental causes, and skill sharing through co-creation.
Rueben George is a Sun Dance Chief and director of community development of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. He is the grandson of Chief Dan George, the Oscar nominated and universally respected First Nations spiritual leader who taught him that “for anything you learn in college or university on healing there is a First Nation teaching that says the same thing.”
Based on the teachings of his elders, Rueben created a reference library of successful psychological healing programs and translated them into First Nation’s culture and spirituality. As well as being a Sun Dance Chief Pipe Carrier and sweat lodge leader, Rueben is an active participant in his Coast Salish Winter Spirit Dancing Ceremony.
Chief Rueben is also actively protecting his people and territory against the Kinder Morgan proposed tar sands oil pipeline and tanker expansion into Vancouver Harbour, the unceded Traditional Territory of his Nation.
Bruce Hardwick is a Firekeeper of the Anishinaabe – Three Fires People.
“The vision is what comes through me. The vision I talk about is the vision in my teachings of the Three Fires people that come from the woodland Indians. How I keep that in alignment is in our prophecy.
There’s eight grandfathers – there’s seven in the teachings but I know that there’s an eighth one to come – in the seven teachings to keep me focused and keep me in line with my leadership, they came to me in this order: the first one was respect, the second was love, the third one was truth, the fourth one was wisdom, the fifth one was bravery, the sixth one was honesty and the seventh one was humility.
There’s an eighth one to come with that eighth fire and I have an idea of what that will be. It will be a structure of all seven plus one, which will go into the eighth fire of eternal peace. it’s going to be a spiritual understanding that we are all the same.”
My name is Stephanie. At age 24, the world lies wide open for me in all its blossoming potential.
I feel deeply connected to our Mother Earth and the lives we all live on it. I am an adventurer, social scientist, artist (in words, image, and sound), and child of nature. To me, the Earth and the Existence it supports are always rife with beautiful profound meaning, and I dream big for their future.
As a social scientist I come at every situation from the ever-fascinating vantage point of people and their interrelations, both at the surface and in the undercurrent. That vantage point lends me my unique approach in professional and personal settings.
I am a space maker, with a knack for creating physical and social environments in which myself and others thrive.
Duane Kinnart (Mukwa Ode, Bear Heart), is an Ojibwa leader based in Michigan’s forested Upper Peninsula. He is one of the tribe’s Fire Keepers and a Keeper of the Sacred Song.
He shares his love and his knowledge generously and is a wonderful leader of journeys. He has been leading Lead Feather journeys since 2008 which helps people feel more connected to themselves and to each other, by tapping into Native American wisdom and the truths of Mother Nature.
Duane is also a partner in the Ojibwa non-profit 4-All where he teaches children of all ages the wisdom of the Ojibwa elders. Duane led several ceremonies in The Netherlands as part of the Ceremonial Journey to Paris and offered to be a fire keeper at the World Wisdom Gathering.
Henry Mentink is leader of (sociocratically organized) MyWheels, and co-leader of The Club of Budapest. Henry is enterprising and idealistic and knows how to excite people to think about a different society. For many years he has been experimenting in the field of new economy and society.
`As with many, thoughts about this started coming after a change in my life, in my case when I was around 10 years old. JF Kennedy’s assassination was the moment in which it became clear to me that peace was not obvious. Peace can emerge if we change the rules of living together on earth, so that a more dignified human existence can be created with respect for nature.`
Henry takes action by being the example. In his working life he build the first professional fair trade shop in the Netherlands and set up the first carshare company MyWheels.
Currently Henry is in the process of setting up an international center for the new economy in the Veerhuis in Varik, The Netherlands. Here he likes to explore what else can be shared besides cars and thus take responsibility collectively for a dignified human existence and peace on earth. It will also be the first Village Trade Center in the world. This new initiative is an experiment of the Club of Budapest.
AUSTIN GERARD NUNEZ
Austin Gerard Nunez is Chairman of the San Xavier District Tohono O’odham Nation.
As a leader of this desert tribal community he is quite informed and versed on a local level of the concerns and impacts of climate change and the threat of lack of water and is considered a water warrior for his Nation near Tucson, Arizona, USA.
His tribal leader perspective on key concerns on availability of water for domestic & agriculture use includes issues such as public law, obligations that agreements are upheld, funding to deliver water, governance in relation to Indigenous Peoples right to water and mechanisms for protection of tribal water sources.
He has spoken on several panels at the 2015 World Water Forum. Besides this, he is also a founding member of the Native American Church of Southern Arizona and is a recognized and respected wisdom keeper of his tribal traditional spiritual practices.
Austin Gerard Nunez is a sweat lodge leader in his community and will bring his water drum to the Wisdom Gathering.
AUSTIN GERARD NUNEZ
LINDAR WINNIE OTIENO
Lindar Winnie Otieno, 29 years old, Kenyan, and holder of a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science Resource Conservation from the Kenyatta University in Kenya.
Her passion has always centred around water, which saw her undertake a dissertation project as part of her undergraduate studies on the use of aquatic invertebrates as alternative indicators of water pollution (which are cheap, easy-to-use, dynamic and affordable to rural communities) using Nairobi river as a case study. Furthermore, she wrote, directed and produced a documentary entitled “My local water story” which won the 1st runners-up prize for the “My local water story” global competition.
Currently, she is self-employed and is actively engaged in awareness creation of the need for environemtal conservation and green of all human activities in Kenya.
LINDAR WINNIE OTIENO
Aloha mai kākou,
My name is Taimiroa Pajimola. I am a 22 year old native Hawaiian woman, born and raised on the islands of Hawai‘i. I dedicate my life daily to native forest restoration and conservation, natural farming, and the protection of all lands here in Hawai‘i.
I work full time with botanist and native plant propagation master, Anna Palomino, at the Olinda Rare Plant Facility in Makawao, Maui. There we propagate rare native Hawaiian plants for the islands of Maui, Lana`i, Moloka`i, Kaho`olawe and Molokini.
My job is very special because all of these endemic plants have less than 50 individuals left in the wild. Some of these plants are so rare, being lost and only recently rediscovered, that the sacred knowledge of them was also lost, including the Hawaiian names of some of them. We hope that one day, through our work, these plants and the native knowledge about them will be available for the keiki (children) of Hawai‘i once again.
I am also a natural farmer here on Maui and am very active in many different issues involving the protection of the lands and people here. From efforts to stop open air GMO experimentation on the islands, to water rights and Hawaiian sovereignty, to protecting the two pillars of Hawai‘i Nei, our maunas, Haleakalā and Mauna a Wākea. They have all been experiences I will never forget.
One of the most important things I've learned through it all is that though our battles are many, our people are more. They are strong, unwavering, and resilient. And the generation coming up after us is even more pa‘a (grounded). The children raised with this indigenous knowledge will teach the world the language their lands speak. They will save the human race and our relationship with this hōnua (earth). I am so proud to be carrying one of them in my womb.
Helen Samuels is among a rare group of innovative and courageous social entrepreneurs who are changing the way the world views solutions to our environmental and social challenges.
Devoted particularly to fostering self-generated solutions to the poverty and social devastation in and around urban settlements and rural areas.
In the last 20 years Helen has also committed to facilitating events that promote the protection and restoration of traditional native cultures and the promotion of sustainability practices with the.
Helen facilitates projects generated by youth leaders who strive to offer their community an answer to poverty, violence, environmental collapse, despair and crime. She is creating an extensive support network of adult and youth mentors to inspire and train the youth in alternative technologies and sustainable practices while inculcating a philosophy of living with respect and in balance with Earth’s life supporting systems.
Helen has altered the way the media, decision-makers, and others perceive urban and native youth cultures, as well as the way the youth perceive themselves.
Laila Spik, a Sami culture grandmother, grew up with a mother and father who gladly shared their knowledge of Sami medicine and everything between heaven and earth.
Being raised in a reindeer herders family in Sirges Sami village near Jokkmokk, Sweden, the father followed the reindeer during the winter season to their winter pastures, but in the summer they were having in the mountains or in the woods and collected plants and various herbs.
Today, she goes around and gives lectures on traditional Sami handicrafts, natural medicine and food to anyone who would listen and learn.
“The most important lesson is that we have our nature, and it has always been our first aid. But one should just take the little you need, not more than that”, she says.
FAITH SPOTTED EAGLE
Faith Spotted Eagle is a founding grandmother of the Brave Heart Society, supervised by a group of community grandmothers called the Unci Circle, which is dedicated to environmental justice and restoring endangered and lost cultural practices to heal the wounds endured by the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota peoples (USA).
“We have revived many of our gender based traditional rites of passage for youth to find their rightful places in this world in a healthy manner. Our Society has the basic principles of a Dakota society that exists to bring balance where unbalance has occurred, to resolve conflict, preserve culture and language and assure a place for our grandchildren in the future.”
FAITH SPOTTED EAGLE
Douglas Tolchin is founder of the Salish Sea Marine Sanctuary & Coastal Trail vision and plan to restore natural animal populations throughout the bioregional watershed to more than 50% of historic levels.
The Salish Sea is one of North America’s most vital breeding and feeding areas for Herring, Wild Salmon, Whales, Orcas, Dolphins, Porpoises and more than 3,000 other amazing animal species.
Internationally located in southwest British Columbia and northwest Washington State, the Salish Sea includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia and Juan de Fuca Strait.
As North America’s first international marine sanctuary, she will also be the first surrounded by a community-connecting hiking and biking path, and wildlife corridor.
PIET VAN IJZENDOORN
Piet van IJzendoorn grew up in the Betuwe, The Netherlands, on a large family farm with all branches of agriculture and horticulture, to which an agricultural contracting business was associated.
From an early age on he helped on the farm. From within the tractor cab he faced at first hand the consequences of the scale increase in agriculture, as well as the increased use of fertilizers and pesticides.
After graduating as environmental expert, and an introduction to biodynamic farming, he started off in 1975 as practical lecturer crop production and livestock at the Warmonderhof, an agricultural school for biodynamic agriculture. Later he studied pedagogy and in 2006 he earned a master’s degree in educational science (orthopedagogy).
In 1982, Piet started “Zonnehoeve” on a 50 ha barren piece of land, where he went to work to shape his ideas on biodynamic agriculture. He started with mixed-farming (dairy and arable), and developed, together with others, several interconnected branches.
Piet still lives and works on “ Zonnehoeve”, and is still active in the care-farming. As a silent partner he has recently started supporting the group of young entrepreneurs who are in the process of carrying the company in a sound manner towards the future.
PIET VAN IJZENDOORN
Giuseppe Villalaz (32) A Guna native, is currently the Manager and Coordinator of the Four Worlds Foundation – Panama’s programs at the City of Knowledge and throughout Panama.
Since eight years he is working with indigenous peoples of Panama and other regions, and has participated in various climate change conferences.
Giuseppe is fluent in Spanish and Kuna dialects. He holds a degree in Mathematics and is very highly respected by many Indigenous leaders and groups in Panama.
Rex Weyler is a journalist, writer, and ecologist. He studied physics, mathematics, and history at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He worked as an apprentice engineer for Lockheed in 1967, but left engineering for a career in journalism. He worked at the North Shore News in North Vancouver and with Greenpeace.
Between 1974 and 1982, he served as a director of Greenpeace, editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles magazine, and was a co-founder of Greenpeace International. He sailed on the first Greenpeace whale campaign, and his photographs and news accounts of Greenpeace appeared worldwide.
Weyler received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his Native American history, Blood of the Land, and he co-authored the self-help classic Chop Wood, Carry Water. He co-founded Hollyhock Educational Centre on Cortes Island in British Columbia – dedicated to environmental, personal, and professional studies – and which remains Canada’s leading educational retreat centre.
He co-developed the Justonic tuning software used by innovative musicians around the world and wrote The Story of Harmony about the history of musical tuning theory. Weyler remains active in environmental work and serves on several company and non-profit boards, including Greenpeace International Marine Services.