Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. (WISDOM), a 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation located in Portland, Oregon, is committed to Native American cultural preservation, education, and race reconciliation. Working in collaboration with diverse cultural organizations and educational institutions, we record and preserve oral tradition and cultural arts of exemplary indigenous elders, historians, storytellers and song carriers in order to regenerate the greatness of culture among native peoples and future generations. We share these teachings with all generations of Native Americans and public audiences of all cultures via Wisdom of the Elders Radio Program, educational curriculum materials, the Northwest Indian Storytellers Association and its annual storytelling festivals, Turtle Island Storytellers Network, cultural celebrations, and other educational venues.
Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. (WISDOM) is collaborating with a team of eight Portland area partners that serve Native Americans to develop multi-media curriculum for Portland-area Native American therapists and clients. This project, titled the Discovering Our Story Project, is being developed to resolve five outcomes, one which increases the skills of therapists serving Native American clients; four outcomes will resolve mental health, addictions, domestic violence prevention and diabetes issues which recent research demonstrates are frequently co-occurring within our community.
Our curriculum team of 12 will produce 16 sets of curriculum learning materials for partners’ rehabilitation programs, each set including 5 training modules and two 15-minute video or audio recordings. Audio and video recordings of exemplary Native American role models, including some archival recordings, will be the central focus of this culturally-relevant curriculum.
Our goal is to provide culturally-appropriate multimedia curricula so that partners’ clients can improve and maintain their mental health, overcome cycles of addiction and domestic violence within their families, and accomplish Type 2 Diabetes programs. Project evaluation and survey development is being developed by Se-ah-dom Edmo with Lewis and Clark College’s Indigenous Ways of Knowing Program staff. Other partners include Native American Rehabilitation Association, the Cowlitz Tribal Health Clinic, Northwest Indian Storytellers Association, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, Portland State University Native American Studies Program, Portland Community Media TV, and Roger Burt, Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant. This project, which has been projected in the WISDOM Board of Directors’ Strategic Plan since 2004 as a future project, launched in July 2009 and is our central focus through June 2012.