Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. (WOTE) extends a warm invitation
to Portland's culturally-rich community to attend Native American
Day on Sunday, October 10. This community celebration will demonstrate
and honor the richness of Native American way of life by sharing a special
mix of wisdom and storytelling from indigenous elders, as well as drumming,
dance and music from Judy Trejo (Piaute), Arlie Neskahi (Navajo), Nico
Wind (Assiniboine), the Aztec Dance Group and the Martin High Bear Memorial
Sun Dance Drummers. This gathering also acknowledges the vital role
our youth play in carrying forward their culture's exemplary values
and traditions. Native American Day will be celebrated on Sunday, October
10 from noon until 5 PM at Portland State University's Smith Ballroom,
1825 SW Broadway in downtown Portland. This event is funded in part
by the Regional Arts and Culture Council and A Territory Resource (Seattle,
Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. is a Native American non-profit 501(c)(3)
corporation located in Portland, Oregon. As First Nations people, we
are humbled by the wisdom of our elders and the deep connection they
share with Great Spirit, the world of nature and family. We regard our
elders as the rapidly vanishing and irreplaceable keepers of oral history,
tradition and environment. The values they extol represent an ancient
legacy of knowledge that is becoming as endangered as many disappearing
species in our fragile ecosystem.
Our mission: To record and preserve traditional cultural values,
oral history, folk art, prophesy and other messages of guidance from
exemplary indigenous elders by using documentary production, book publishing,
public gatherings, and other educational venues. We are seeking to regenerate
the richness of indigenous heritage and cultural values among today's
and future generations of Native Americans, especially the growing number
recovering from alcohol, drugs and other cycles of abuse. As part of
our race reconciliation and education mission, WOTE also acknowledges
the vital importance of reconciliation between races. We concur with
the thoughts of Richard West, Director of the National Museum of the
American Indian, who stated: "We seek to correct misconceptions, end
prejudice, stop injustice, and demonstrate how Indian culture has and
will continue to enrich our worlds." It is for this reason that WOTE
offers the wisdom of these rich teachings with all races of mankind
in collaboration with diverse cultural organizations.
WOTE's professional video-recordings of elders, traditional
storytellers, drummers, musicians and dancers presenting at these multi-cultural
gatherings also preserves the richness of many world cultures living
in today's Oregon. Our productions are offered as an archival showcase
of the area's finest Native American and ethnic wisdom and cultural
performances during this period of Oregon's history. Programming
is rebroadcast on Multnomah County Television (MCTV) in a monthly series
called Wisdom of the Elders Television, and copies are shared with co-sponsors.
Portions are also showcased on our website at www.homestead.com/wote
(currently being developed) which will allow us to share important messages
and performances with a greater segment of our region.
During the year 2000, we plan to continue sponsoring "An Afternoon
with Wisdom of the Elders," our series of four multi-cultural gatherings
which exhibit the long-standing First Nations tradition of sharing indigenous
knowledge and wisdom, as well as stirring drumbeat, music and dance
to interested citizens of all cultures. The gatherings acknowledge the
priceless contributions our elders have made in preserving the old ways
and cultural values as they serve as exemplary role models for younger
generations. We also honor the diversity of ethnic heritage and learn
from the wisdom of their exemplary elders: African-American culture
in February, Latino-American in March, European-American in April and
Asian-American in May. Gatherings are held at colleges and universities
in the Portland metropolitan area in collaboration with a growing number
of individuals, institutions and organizations.
To accomplish its educational, cultural preservation, and racial
reconciliation missions in the local area, WOTE is currently making
an "open call" to the regional community, requesting networking and
publicity assistance during the month prior to Native American Day.
Collaboration with like-minded individuals and organizations is a major
aspect of our mission. Therefore, interested individuals and community
organizations are welcome to call us for more information. Call Stuart
Watson, Project Director or Melissa Selsor, Volunteer Coordinator at
(503) 775-4014 or write WOTE at 5518 SE Flavel Drive, Portland, OR 97206.
Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although we meet regularly as an extended family for potluck meetings,
it is not necessary to attend meetings to participate.