Bioneers Indigeneity Program


“Indigeneity assumes a spiritual interconnectedness between all creations, their right to exist and the value of their contributions to the larger whole.  At the core of Indigenous thinking is that coexistence relies on the ability of all peoples’ and living things’ voices be heard and heard equally.”

LaDonna Harris, Founder and President of Americans for Indian Opportunity


What We Do 

The people I met at Bioneers inspired me to continue to share my voice in words and song with biological pioneers who are committed to learn about a shared struggle for undoing environmental and economic racism and bio-technological injustice of Indigenous peoples and our traditional knowledge
– Tom Goldtooth, Dine’ and Dakota, Indigenous Environmental Network

The Bioneers Indigeneity Program promotes Indigenous environmental and social justice leaders by creating a cultural bridge and public education outlets through special initiatives, including:

The Indigenous Forum features in-depth discussions on the most pressing issues facing indigenous communities locally and globally, from policy reform to best practices in native arts, environmental issues, and cultural preservation.

Special Events are hands-on immersion into the sophisticated sciences, knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples working to protect and restore their eco-cultural heritage.

Indigenous Media for Social Change include filmed and webcast segments of the annual Indigenous Forum; a Bioneers anthology entitled The Original Instructions; and the multi-award- winning Bioneers annual international radio series.

Indigenous Educational Curricula are designed to be used in conjunction with our original media, and include lesson plans and courses for different learning levels from grades 6-12, to university and lifelong learners.

Native Youth Scholarships brings youth to the annual conference that would otherwise not be able to attend, creating a safe and inspirational space for young people to meet and be inspired by diverse Indigenous mentors and peers.

All program activities, material and outreach between cultures are Native-advised and honors the intellectual property and cultural privacy of Indigenous peoples while creating an invitational format to address contemporary issues with a mainstream audience through Indigenous ways of knowing.

Program History

For millennia, Indigenous Peoples have acted as guardians of biological diversity of the planet. They’ve successfully managed complex reciprocal relationships between diverse biological and human cultures. Traditional ecological knowledge shows how human beings can actually play a richly positive role in the web of life.
– Kenny Ausubel, Indigeneity Program Partner and Founder, Bioneers

Indigenous perspectives are central to the Bioneers Collective Heritage Institute’s mission to highlight breakthrough solutions to restoring people and planet. Since 1990, Indigenous visionaries from around the world have shared culture-based insights at the annual Bioneers conference and other events. The program has grown into a go-to source to access accurate and contemporary depictions of Indigenous peoples from diverse backgrounds working to positively impact the world’s most pressing environmental and social justice issues. Today, the significant Indigenous presence in Bioneers is truly global, representing elders, activists, youth, scholars, healers, and spiritual leaders from over 100 Indigenous communities worldwide.



Radio Shows

Surviving Climate Change: Plants, People and Place | John Mohawk
Youth Solutionaries: Future Present | De’anthony Jones, Chloe Maxmin and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
Becoming Fully Human: The Covenant of the Original Instructions | Winona Laduke, John Trudell and Evan Peter


Original-InstructionsIn 2008, Bioneers published the anthology, “Original Instructions – Indigenous Teachings For A Sustainable Future”. Edited by the President of the Cultural Conservancy and Bioneers Honorary Board Member, Melissa Nelson (Anishinaabe/Métis), this groundbreaking resource presents a wide range of Indigenous perspectives drawn from presentations given at the annual Bioneers Conference from 1990-2016.

Deborah Donovan, a librarian and booklist reviewer, noted the importance of this heretofore previously inaccessible subject matter: “Speakers address such diverse issues as the loss of Acoma shrines to coal and gas mines, the impact of mega dams, mines, and deforestation on the land belonging to the Canadian Cree, and the pollution of water sources at the Isleta Pueblo, downstream from Albuquerque. The reader becomes familiar with projects like RAFT (Renewing America’s Food Traditions), which works to protect heirloom seeds and conserve native ecosystems, and the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), which focuses on environmental and economic justice issues affecting indigenous peoples, who are ‘disproportionately impacted and burdened’ by toxic contamination. These indigenous activists have much to share, and they serve as crucial voices in the worldwide effort to restore our ailing planet.”

Gregory Cajete (Tewa), professor and founding director of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico describes Original Instructions as: “an invaluable resource of Indigenous wisdom. This book is a must-read for every socially conscious political leader, member of the clergy, educator, activist, community worker, and entrepreneur interested in participating in the creation of a new and more ecologically sound worldview, one that will be capable of sustaining society in an era of significant global climate change.”


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