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  • Writer's pictureRose High Bear

July 2021 E-Newsletter

Updated: Jul 4, 2021


Greetings my relatives, we have some special messages this month. First, we are announcing our Traditional Ecological Knowledge Workforce Development Internship which begins October 5, 2021. We plan to recruit 8 Native American, Alaskan Native, Hawaiian Islander or Pacific Islander students who will receive stipends and tuition waivers for taking the trainings. We are also recruiting a Crew Leader to serve on our experiential education team at Elderberry Wisdom Farm and support the interns in the greenhouse and on the farm.

We are a young nonprofit and our readership is still small, so feel free to forward our messages to your colleagues. We hope to develop the skills to be more active on social media which will also get the word out about these opportunities to our community. See below.


Recruiting Native American Interns!

Elderberry Wisdom Farm is Recruiting Native American Interns for the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Workforce Training Opportunity. Application Deadline is September 1, 2021. The Internship starts Tuesday, October 5 and concludes on Friday, December 17, 2021.

This fall, a cohort of eight (8) Native Americans from Oregon’s tribal communities, plus urban Indians, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students will learn to integrate traditional ecological knowledge perspectives into their agricultural and horticultural career plans. Our team of Native American educators at Elderberry Wisdom Farm will combine TEK with traditional Western views to develop horticultural practices. Students will learn to cultivate, grow and restore native plant species, especially threatened and/or endangered traditional First Foods species as they plan their own micro-enterprise or prepare for a career in habitat restoration. Experiential activities will be completed in our outdoor classroom which includes the greenhouse, elderberry patch and pollinator beds in a Native American environment at Elderberry Wisdom Farm.

Students will become equipped with knowledge and experience needed to meaningfully and successfully enter Oregon’s agricultural and horticultural workforce. We especially encourage those interested in creating their own business and marketing plan to look closely at our opportunity and apply. Interns could receive a second year of mentoring, support and funding that could empower them to form their own horticultural microenterprise or organic farm.

We have been blessed with the opportunity to establish our Native businesses on a small irrigated farm in rural Marion County that is rich with organic Woodburn silt soil. A long-term farm lease has been offered by a generous friend and colleague. It could provide our future family of farmers with added protection for their efforts and strengthen their opportunities for a livelihood that will bring prosperity – not just financial. It especially brings hope, personal well-being and cultural sustainability that comes from living in a Native American intentional community united with a common vision.

We have been warmly welcomed thanks to the commendable leadership of Larry Cheyne, Dean of Agricultural Sciences & Technology and his colleagues at Chemeketa Community College. This collaborative partnership will provide funding for paid internships for the interns who will receive stipends and tuition waivers to complete this culturally-tailored workforce training. They will also receive a tuition waiver for the horticulture class HOR 111 which introduces them to a broad view of academic horticultural science.

The trainings will continue to be offered to cohorts of Native students through 2025. Starting in year two and extending through year five, additional students Native students plus of color, including Latino, African American, etc. will have opportunities to participate in partnership with Chemeketa Community College with funding from USDA.

Interested applicants can email your interest and a resume to Rose at More information will continue to be provided and will be available at our website: Be sure to sign up for our newsletter at or website home page and you will automatically receive our publication once a month.


TEK Experiential Educator. Position Open Until Filled

Elderberry Wisdom Farm is seeking a TEK Experiential Educator to serve on our leadership team. This individual will provide outdoor experiential service learning and support the activities of our cohort of eight Native American interns starting Fall term 2021. First day of the internship will be October 5, 2021. In years 2-5, we will welcome Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and other students of color to apply.

This is a key leadership position that will help our team evolve our culturally tailored multimedia learning model in preparation for our internship starting Fall Term 2021. The educator will assist with curriculum development for outdoor activities; assist the TEK Educator in the morning educational classroom sessions; lead the interns in field-based experiential learning in the greenhouse and on the farm in the afternoons; and mentor interns. There will be special opportunities for them to strengthen emerging researcher skills, and consider development of a business and marketing plan for their own microenterprise business in horticulture or organic agriculture.

Classes will be held Fall term (October 5 through December 17, 2021) on the Native American owned two-acre organic farm and at Chemeketa Community College. The part-time position begins in October, 2021. We are actively raising funds for this role which has the potential to continue through December 2025. Interested candidates can send a resume to: More info:


Cooling Down

Full moon over the farm – spring of 2021

I wanted to share this recent image of the moonlight on the Elderberry Wisdom Farm property which reflects a cooler moment in time. I am sharing this because Oregon’s Willamette Valley broke records for heat in late June 28. They report that the Northwest heat wave feels apocalyptic, but my reflections focus more on the winds.

The spirit of the wind spoke to me a few years ago before I moved out of Portland and asked me: “The wind is talking. Can you hear the wind?” The message is that we need to listen to the world of nature and prepare ourselves to do everything in our power to help others and our ecosystem back to health.

The mercury in Salem hit 117 degrees, toppling the previous record high of 113 the day prior. (Before this stretch, the max was 108 from 1927, 1941, and 1981.) This was the most severe heat wave in the history of the Pacific Northwest. The National Weather Service predicted it to be “historic, dangerous, prolonged and unprecedented” and it was. There was unprecedented loss of life. We watched in horror as a small town in British Columbia burned to the ground. Meteorologists said the extreme conditions were the result of a “heat dome,” an immense zone of high pressure air that stalled over the region and served as a lid, trapping heat and allowing it to accumulate.

Alaska climate film clip – “Rose High Bear at archaeology dig on Arctic Ocean – September 2012

I once thought our beautiful sacred landscape here in Oregon would be a climate refugee site for others needing to escape extreme weather events and conditions in other regions, but now we find ourselves more vulnerable than we imagined. Climate deniers may still be out there, but our Alaskan Native elders have been documenting the changes for more than 60 years and continue to share new incidents that grow increasingly troubling. It has been a highlight of my life to have recorded eloquent Native elders from Utqiaġvik, Alaska to the Klamath River and beyond since before 2012 for our Native Wisdom Climate Documentary Series.

We are not planning another documentary series, but we are committed to support Native youth interested in learning film production. This could be an ideal experiential learning opportunity for them to record their elders and in the process, save their messages for future generations of their families and communities. They will also learn technology through video and post production editing along with Traditional Ecological Knowledge of the elders they record. It is important that we document our stories, our oral histories and our elders’ memories of tending and harvesting their lands, and so are our traditional stories, songs, ceremonies and other cultural traditions. They were once jeopardized, but seem to be returning to the people!

We feel a special obligation to support and prepare our youth for their role of restoring our landscapes and diverse heritage. Elderberry Wisdom Farm intends to do our part. You may see evidence in future editions of our monthly e-newsletter. Please share our website with your colleagues, because it takes a village to nurture and support our grandchildren as they help to restore the earth. At the same time, we will be restoring our hope in a sustainable future.


New White Paper from the United Nations NAO

New White Paper from the United Nations NAO book cover

Amazing what can happen sometimes when you wake up unexpectedly at 3:30 am. I felt privileged to join the UN FAO broadcast of the release of their new and inspiring publication from Rome, Italy: The White/Wiphala Paper on Indigenous Peoples' food systems. I’m sharing the Abstract here and invite you to download the free publication at:

The Abstract reads: This White/Wiphala paper on Indigenous Peoples’ food systems is the result of collective work by Indigenous Peoples’ representatives and experts, scientists, researchers, and UN staff. Over 47 different units, organizations, and institutions have contributed to the Paper from the seven socio-cultural regions… This Paper advocates that lessons can be learnt from Indigenous Peoples’ approach to food, which will contribute to the resilience and sustainability of food systems worldwide, as well as supporting the wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples. In this vein, this Paper provides evidence on the sustainability of Indigenous Peoples’ food systems, including the ways in which they have proven resilient over time. The Paper articulates the importance of respecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights to ensure the preservation of their foods systems, and the value this can add to tackling emerging challenges that face mankind.

I drew a lot of inspiration from one of the most meaningful segments in this document - the discussion of “Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems” which expresses the capacity of our world’s indigenous peoples, especially farmers, to accomplish global ecosystem restoration. Imagine that our world could recover if our original peoples or First Peoples had a voice and the political power to do their everyday work of working their sacred landscapes. I also acknowledge these leaders for convening aa council of international elders to meet with our youth share with them AND LISTEN TO THEM!


Sharing our Knowledge

You may have noticed that we are optimists here at Elderberry Wisdom Farm. We like to express hope and optimism that we can restore declining populations of important plants, especially threatened and endangered traditional First Foods species. For instance, in a recent keynote at the June 8 National Tribal Leadership Climate Change Summit,, I expressed that 10-15% of the white oak savannahs are still here in our Willamette Valley, instead of stating that 85-90% of this important traditional First Foods species has vanished. Our words have a power to spread positive thinking and we want that to influence our youth. We are relying on them to work together with elders and scientists to save our forests, savannahs, foothills, coastlines and other irreplaceable ecosystems.

Despite that we are currently very small in size - our board and staff is still small in number - our vision and dreams are large of necessity. We don’t have a lot of time these days to step away from our internal planning and development work to communicate important messages to our colleagues and the world. Still we decided last month to share our perspectives on the importance of food sovereignty with other Native communities and public audiences. We agree to present a workshop in the section titled Bridging Traditional and Scientific Ways of Knowing to Restore Land and Life during the upcoming Food Sovereignty Symposium 2021 being held in Michigan (and virtually) on September 21-2. Our one-hr. workshop is titled: “Integrating TEK into Horticultural and Agricultural Workforce Development for Native American Students.”

Our team will present this workshop remotely as it is being held at Michigan Technological University. MTU provided a land acknowledgment* from their location within Ojibwa (Chippewa) homelands and ceded-territory established by the Treaty of 1842, the shared lands and waters of Native American nations in Gakiiwe’onaning (Keweenaw Bay), Gete-gitgaaning (Lac Vieux Desert), Mashkii-ziibing (Bad River), Odaawaa-zaaga’iganing (Lac Courte Oreilles), Waaswaaganing (Lac Du Flambeau), Miskwaabikong (Red Cliff), Wezaawaagami-ziibiing (St. Croix), Zaka’aaganing (Sokaogon Mole Lake), Nagaajiwanaag (Fond du Lac), Misi-zaaga’iganiing (Mille Lacs), and Gaa-mitaawangaagamaag-ininiwag (Sandy Lake).

*Land Acknowledgements are becoming more and more prevalent. We thank our partners and colleagues who are providing them as they open their conferences, lectures and keynotes, and on social media, etc. Here are helpful instructions for those who would like to develop theirs.

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