Sustainable Wisdom: Integrating Modern and Indigenous KnowHow for Flourishing

September 11-15, 2016

Program chair: Darcia Narvaez,

David Abram

David Abram, cultural ecologist and geophilosopher, is the founder and creative director of the the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE). He is the author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology and The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. Hailed as "revolutionary" by the Los Angeles Times, as “daring” and “truly original” by Science, David's work has helped catalyzed the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of eco-psychology. An accomplished storyteller and sleight-of-hand magician who has lived with and learned from indigenous medicine persons in Indonesia, Nepal, and the Americas, David's writings are published in numerous scholarly journals, magazines, and edited anthologies. His work engages the ecological depths of the imagination, exploring the ways in which sensory perception, poetics, and wonder inform our relation with the animate earth. David has been the recipient of various awards, including the international Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction, as well as fellowships from the Watson and Rockefeller Foundations. He most recently held the honorary Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and Ecology at the University of Oslo, in Norway.


Rebecca Adamson

Rebecca Adamson, a Cherokee economist, is Founder and President of First Peoples Worldwide, the first US based global Indigenous Peoples NGO, which makes grants and provides technical assistance and advocacy directly to Indigenous-led development projects. Ms. Adamson has worked directly with grassroots tribal communities, both domestically and internationally, as an advocate of local tribal issues since 1970. She established the premiere US development institute, First Nations Development Institute in 1980 and in 1997 she founded First Peoples Worldwide. Ms. Adamson's work established the first microenterprise loan fund in the United States; the first tribal investment model; and, a national movement for reservation land reform. Her work established a new field of culturally appropriate, values-driven development, which led to legislation that established new standards of accountability regarding federal trust responsibility for Native Americans.


Four Arrows (Don Trent Jacobs)

Four Arrows (Wahinkpe Topa) -Don Trent Jacobs is currently a faculty member with Fielding Graduate University, ranked in 2004 as the number one doctoral granting university for American Indians. From 2001 to 2007, he was a tenured Associate Professor at NAU. From 1998-2001 he served as Dean of the Education Department at Oglala Lakota College. He holds a Ph.D. in health psychology (CPU) and an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction (BSU). In addition to nearly 100 articles in magazines and peer-reviewed journals, he is the author of eighteen books and fourteen invited chapters about such diverse topics as Indigenous worldview; social and ecological justice; wellness; psycholinguistics; critical theory; teaching and learning; and neurophilosophy. In 2010, his first novel, Last Song of the Whale, will be published. This exciting and suspenseful adventure revolves around the Great Eastern Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Gyre.


Megan Bang

Megan Bang is assistant professor at the University of Washington in Learning Sciences and Human Development (Educational Psychology), Science Education, and Teacher Education. She engages in the study of learning and development in and across everyday contexts using interdisciplinary approaches and methods including experimental cognitive studies, field studies, ethnography, and indigenous and critical methodologies. For example, she has been conducting research to uncover the ways in which cultural differences in sense-making, of which issues of epistemology are central, in the natural world unfold. For example, I have been conducting cognitive studies of peoples mental models of the natural world across development (3 year olds to adults) and developing ethnographies and quasi-experimental studies of children and families practices focused on and in primarily outdoor settings. She also designs research that builds science learning environments from Indigenous epistemologies (Cajete, 1999); and the study of child, family and teacher learning and practice in novel environments.


Ned Blackhawk

Ned Blackhawk (Western Shoshone) is a Professor of History and American Studies at Yale and was on the faculty from 1999 to 2009 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A graduate of McGill University, he holds graduate degrees in History from UCLA and the University of Washington and is the author of Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the early American West (Harvard, 2006), a study of the American Great Basin that garnered half a dozen professional prizes, including the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from the Organization of American Historians. In addition to serving in professional associations and on the editorial boards of American Quarterly and Ethnohistory, Professor Blackhawk has led the establishment of two fellowships, one for American Indian Students to attend the Western History Association’s annual conference, the other for doctoral students working on American Indian Studies dissertations at Yale named after Henry Roe Cloud (Winnebago, Class of 1910).


Gregory Cajete

Gregory Cajete, Native American educator whose work is dedicated to honoring the foundations of indigenous knowledge in education. Dr. Cajete is a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. He has served as a New Mexico Humanities scholar in ethno botany of Northern New Mexico and as a member of the New Mexico Arts Commission. In addition, he has lectured at colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, England, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Currently, he is Director of Native American Studies and an Associate Professor in the Division of Language, Literacy and Socio cultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Cajete earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from New Mexico Highlands University with majors in both Biology and Sociology and a minor in Secondary Education. He received his Masters of Arts degree from the University of New Mexico in Adult and Secondary Education. He received his Ph.D. from International College – Los Angeles New Philosophy Program in Social Science Education with an emphasis in Native American Studies.


Bradford Keeney

Bradford Keeney, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher, shaman, traditional healer, creative therapist, and improvisational performer. Recognized as an ecstatic spiritual teacher and healer by numerous cultures, Keeney became a n/om-kxao (healer) with the Kalahari Bushmen. Megan Biesele, Ph.D., former member of the Harvard Kalahari Research Group, writes: "There is no question in the minds of the Bushman healers that Keeney's strength and purposes are coterminous with theirs. They affirmed his power as a healer." He is the subject of the book, American Shaman: An Odyssey of Global Healing Traditions written by psychologists Jeffrey Kottler and Jon Carlson, which won a Best Spiritual Book of 2005 award from Spirituality & Health magazine.


Hilary Keeney

Hillary Keeney, Ph.D., is a distinguished scholar, author, and teacher of creative transformation and improvisational movement. Co-Founder and President of THE KEENEY INSTITUTE FOR HEALING, she is currently Director of Research at Etfasis Institute of Systemic Family Therapy in Querétaro, Mexico, Distinguished Visiting Professor at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), and Associate Editor of the journal, Dance, Movement, and Spiritualities. Hillary previously served as Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Faculty at the University of Louisiana. Having begun her career in the non-profit sector doing community and social justice work, she now advances the art of change in a wide variety of venues, from the therapeutic clinic to the social service agency, classroom, and theatre. Her scholarship has made contributions to the study of interdisciplinary pedagogy, social cybernetics, creative therapeutic practice and training, ethnographic study of healing traditions, qualitative research of communication, and dance.


Robin Kimmerer

Dr. Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, writer and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York and the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment whose mission is to create programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability. Her research interests include the role of traditional ecological knowledge in ecological restoration and building resilience for climate change. In collaboration with tribal partners, she and her students have an active research program in the ecology and restoration of plants of cultural significance to Native people. She is active in efforts to broaden access to environmental science training for Native students, and to introduce the benefits of traditional ecological knowledge to the scientific community, in a way that respects and protects indigenous knowledge.

 Robin is an enrolled member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi.  She holds a PhD in Botany from the University of Wisconsin and is the author of numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge and restoration ecology. She is the co-founder and past president of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge section of the Ecological Society of America. As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.




Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe) is an internationally acclaimed author, orator and activist. A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities with advanced degrees in rural economic development, LaDuke has devoted her life to protecting the lands and life ways of Native communities.  LaDuke is founder and Co-Director of Honor the Earth, a national advocacy group encouraging public support and funding for native environmental groups. With Honor the Earth, she works nationally and internationally on issues of climate change, renewable energy, sustainable development, food systems and environmental justice.  In her own community in northern Minnesota, she is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation based non-profit organizations in the country, and a leader on the issues of culturally-based sustainable development strategies, renewable energy and food systems. In this work, LaDuke also works to protect Indigenous plants and heritage foods from patenting and genetic engineering.


Barbara Alice Mann

Barbara Alice Mann, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Humanities at the University of Toledo. She is an Ohio Bear Clan Seneca, is a scholar whose ninth book on Native-settler history is forthcoming this spring. In addition, she has published on Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, a little on Austen, and is projecting a book on the Cooper-Austen connection.




Ngahiraka Mason

Ngahiraka Mason is a senior curator of Māori Art, makes large-scale exhibitions on specific topics or issues relating to Maori history, culture and values. She has 20+ years of this at their New Zealand national arts museum and because she is a native speaker, she is able to weave in ancient ideas within her exhibition-making practice.


Manulani Aluli Meyer

Manu is dedicated to transforming ideas of intelligence, research, and science to better address the needs and honor the unique contributions of native peoples.  She is currently an Associate Professor of Education at the University of Hawaii in Hilo and founding member of Halau Wanana, a Hawaiian Center of Higher Learning preparing teachers for licensure in the Hawaiian charter school movement. She earned her doctorate from Harvard researching Hawaiian epistemology, or an indigenous philosophy of knowledge specific to her homeland Hawaii-nui-akea. She was part of the first WINHEC accreditation team – World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium. She helps in the Food Sovereignty movement on all islands and is part of a large community garden at the Hilo Boys and Girls Club.  She is widely published and travels throughout the world enjoying her relations in a multitude of movements.


Dylan Miner

Dylan Miner is associate professor at Michigan State University, where he coordinates a new Indigenous Contemporary Art Initiative. He holds a PhD from the University of New Mexico and has published more than fifty journal articles, book chapters, critical essays and encyclopedia entries. In 2010, he was awarded an Artist Leadership Fellowship from the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution). Since 2010, he has been featured in thirteen solo exhibitions and been artist-in-residence at institutions such as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, École supérieure des beaux-arts in Nantes and Santa Fe Art Institute. His work has been the subject of articles in publications including ARTnews, Indian Country Today, First American Art Magazine, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian and Chicago Sun-Times, among others. Miner is descended from the Miner-Brissette-L’Hirondelle-Kennedy families with ancestral ties to Indigenous communities in the Great Lakes, Prairies and subarctic regions. His book Creating Aztlán: Chicano Art, Indigenous Sovereignty and Lowriding across Turtle Island will be published this year by the University of Arizona Press.


Ron Sheffield

Ron Sheffield, Ed.D. is a member of the Quechan Indian Tribe of Fort Yuma Arizona, social scientist, and adjunct professor of leadership studies within the Leadership and American Studies Department at Christopher Newport University in Newport News Virginia. He is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington D.C. in Leadership with a focus on Human & Organizational Learning. Ron is also the Managing Director of OrgScience Incorporated. This Native American firm is dedicated to leadership training, coaching, and research. Ron is also a published author and founder of an international research team focused on entrepreneurship, language, and gender in business. He is an annually invited speaker at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and his lectures include; Cross-Cultural and Values Leadership, Leadership in Native America, and the Indigenous Perspective on Counseling. His doctoral research was conducted on the Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Reservation and was titled, "The Influence of Language on Culture and Identity: Resurgence of the Quechan Native American Tribal Language." Ron interviewed many respected tribal elders seeking to understand the influence that language restriction, and then later legitimization by the Federal government, had on their individual perspectives of culture and identity. This research also brings shares a unique lens on the idea and concepts of an organization. Ron is currently an active member of the Board of Directors for the American Indian Business Leaders (AIBL) and the NativeCry Outreach Alliance (NCOA). He lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, has been married for twenty-six years, and has two daughters (ages 24 and 18).


Penny Spikins

Penny has been lecturer at the University of York since 2004, becoming a Senior Lecturer in 2012. She was first fascinated by human origins after visiting Upper Palaeolithic cave art sites when she was eleven. Her first degree was in Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology at Cambridge, followed by at Masters at Leeds, returning afterwards to Cambridge for her PhD. She spent two years carrying out postdoctoral research in Patagonia, and further postdoctoral research as a Sir James Knott research fellow at Newcastle before taking up her first lectureship at Newcastle.


James Treat

James Treat is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chammpaign in the Department of Religion. James Treat’s research focuses on American Indian ways of knowing, especially in the wake of imperial modernity. Recent ventures include Field Guide to Turtle Island – A Virtual Primer on Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Native North America. An earlier project involved a monthly column on tribal traditions published in the Muscogee Nation News and archived at Mvskoke Country. On a more theoretical level, Treat is interested in the human ecology of indigenous societies as a religious critique of industrial civilization.


Waziyatawin (Angela Cavender Wilson)

Waziyatawin is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe (Yellow Medicine Village) in southwestern Minnesota.  She earned her PhD in American History from Cornell University and has held tenured positions at Arizona State University and the University of Victoria where she also served as the Indigenous Peoples Research Chair in the Indigenous Governance Program.  Her work seeks to build a culture of resistance within Indigenous communities, to recover Indigenous ways of being, and to eradicate colonial institutions.  Waziyatawin is currently the Executive Director of the Dakota nonprofit Makoce Ikikcupi, a reparative justice project supporting Dakota reclamation of homeland.  She is the author or co/editor of six volumes, including What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland (Living Justice Press, 2008) and For Indigenous Minds Only: A Decolonization Handbook (SAR Press, 2012), edited with Michael Yellow Bird.


White Standing Buffalo (Tom McCallum)

White Standing Buffalo (Tom McCallum), is a Métis Elder and storyteller. Through his engaging stories, he teaches about the complex uses of storytelling as community activities that educate, entertain, and increase community bonds. He demonstrates how creation stories teach about our relationship to the natural world and shares how storytelling connects the past with today and how it may impact the future.  

Jon Young

Jon Young is the author of several works in the field of deep nature connection mentoring. He worked for fourteen years with a group of experienced leaders in nature mentoring to produce and co-author Coyote's Guide to Connecting to Nature. Jonhas helped foster a world-wide network of naturalists numbering in the thousands. Jon has been a deep nature connection mentor, wildlife tracker, author, workshop leader, consultant and inspiring public speaker for over twenty years. He travels to teach widely throughout North America and Europe, and South Africa. He is a leader in an international network of consultants and trainers working to help communities develop effective nature connection mentoring programs, and culture regeneration for communities and organizations.

Jon co-founded the 8 Shields Institute to help with developing a best-practices process for mentoring and nature connection work.