Founded in 2008, the Native-led Indigenous Forum at Bioneers is designed as a sovereign space for Indigenous People to bring their vision and message to Native and non-Native allies and to connect. Each year the Indigenous Forum works to amplify Indigenous voices, build networks and movements and enhance cross-cultural dialogue, learning, cultural sensitivity and informed action. The event is a core part of the Bioneers Conference, bringing together Indigenous activists, scientists, elders, youth, culture-bearers and scholars to share their knowledge and frontline solutions in dialogue with a dynamic, multicultural audience.
We invite you to join us in San Francisco for an incredible lineup of leaders making up the 2022 Indigenous Forum at Bioneers.
California is the world’s largest consumer of crude from the Amazon rainforest where it is converted into oil for some of America’s largest corporations and airports. Not only does this extraction contribute to climate change, Amazon crude is causing contamination and rights violations all along the supply chain. Extraction on Indigenous territories is driving deforestation and leaving a toxic legacy across Ecuador’s Amazon, tankers carrying crude across the Pacific threaten our oceans, and refineries processing the crude poison neighboring communities, while Californians are forced to consume goods and services that rely on Amazon-sourced crude oil. This presentation by Indigenous Amazonian forest protectors in partnership with Amazon Watch calls for Californians to take action to #EndAmazonCrude and demand corporate responsibility for people and planet.
Gail Pelletier, a member of the Treaty 6 Pukatawagan Cree Nation and a Cross Lake and Guy Hill Indian Residential School survivor, along with her son, Bioneers board member, author, director and campaigner, Clayton Thomas-Müller; and her grandson, thirteen year-old Jaxson Thomas-Müller, will share how they are practicing mindfulness and intention while their family is moving through and healing from the trauma of 150 years of Canada’s genocidal residential school policy. Join them to learn how working toward truth and reconciliation and healing from the violence of colonization and the intergenerational impacts of Indian Residential School Syndrome is a multigenerational endeavor.
As the world continues to grapple with the reality of the changing climate and the ever-more evident destructive consequences of capitalism and colonization, it is normal to feel an increase in anxiety about what our future may hold. This is even more true for Native people. Indigenous peoples are responsible for protecting and maintaining some 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity as part of their deep cultural and spiritual connections to many of the lands, waters, species and biomes of the planet. Colonization didn’t just bring the displacement of First Peoples; it led to intense degradation of the critical ecosystems they were intrinsically connected to. As the climate emergency exacerbates this threat, Indigenous communities find themselves experiencing a more visceral and different form of eco-anxiety. Join Eriel Tchekwie Deranger as she invites us to explore holding this reality, yet also to discover how Indigenous ways of knowing can be a salve to these powerful tensions, as they can point the way to climate solutions and help us move from anxiety to inspiration. What might it look and feel like to live in a world where Indigenous peoples were thriving? How can we work through this collective emergency and crisis together with healing in mind?
Revitalizing traditional Native foods are part of a re-indigenization renaissance happening from coast to coast. Many people are unaware that a key strategy of the American genocide was to destroy native food sources, create dependency, and replace healthy diets with nutrient deficient commodities. In this panel, Native leaders in the Bay Area will discuss how they have been shaping this movement to revitalize Indigenous foods. In addition to improving health, Indigenous foods local to place fosters community wellness and intergenerational healing by bringing people together, providing fun activities for youth, and decolonizing urban spaces. Join us to learn what you can do to be a part of this movement, and how to decolonize your own diet.
Gregg Castro (t’rowt’raahl Salinan / rumsien & ramaytush Ohlone), Association of Ramaytush Ohlone/San Francisco American Indian Cultural District
Sharaya Souza, San Francisco American Indian Cultural District
Moderated by Alexis Bunten (Unangan/Yupik)
About this panel
San Francisco is arguably America’s most progressive city, at the cutting edge of intersectional culture change for social and environmental good. To this end, city leaders, officials and local NGOs have made land acknowledgments, removed racist murals, established an American Indian Cultural District, and made partnerships to restore public lands hand-in-hand with Native American community leaders. Presenters will lead a frank discussion about how to revitalize cities through these kinds of re-indigenization efforts. Join us to learn about the unique issues that San Francisco’s urban Indian communities face through stories about successes and mistakes that have been made on the road to reconciliation.
Cree legends talk about the nefarious winter spirit Witigo’ and how it can possess you to such an extent that you become an all-consuming cannibal stricken with insatiable greed and hunger. 350.org‘s Cree Campaigner and best-selling author of Life in the City of Dirty Water: A Memoir of Healing, Clayton Thomas-Müller, will discuss how this sort of possession offers us an excellent metaphor for the mindset that has brought us the ravages of ruthless extractive capitalism and the oppression of First Peoples and other historically disenfranchised groups; and he will propose some answers to the question: What is it going to take for us to move through and heal from the violence of colonization?
The Rights of Nature movement protects nature (rivers, mountains, and entire ecosystems and the life forms supported within them) by recognizing their legal rights. This legal framework offers a radically different worldview from current legal premises. Instead of being seen as property, nature’s inherent rights to exist, persist, flourish and evolve can now be protected under the law. For over 15 years, the Rights of Nature movement has caught fire across the US and the rest of the world in the most and least expected places, from tribal lands to “progressive” cities, coal country, and more. Join us to hear the latest updates on the Rights of Nature movement and legal battles in the US from the attorneys leading the movement in Indian Country and beyond.
Indigenous Forum Day 2: Indigenous Solutions for Transformative Change
Eriel Deranger (Athabaska Chippeweyan First Nation), Indigenous Climate Action
Moderated by Alexis Bunten (Unangan/Yupik)
About this panel
Indigenous peoples in the north have been feeling the disastrous effects of climate change far longer than the rest of the planet’s population. According to NASA record sets, the arctic is warming up to four times faster than the rest of the planet, disturbing terrestrial and marine ecosystems, destroying villages, and disrupting healthy ways of life. Some of the most innovative solutions to the climate crisis are emerging from the circumpolar north born of the practicality and ingenuity rooted in Native knowledge systems. In this panel, leaders at the Native Conservancy, Native Movement and Indigenous Climate Action will share their strategies for addressing climate change in policy, civil society and economic sectors.
Indigenous Peoples already do “green jobs,” integrate cultural values into business activities, and protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity. In order to transform our economies through Indigenous-led solutions, we need to uplift movements and stories inspired by Indigenous resistance. To do this, we must change the culture of philanthropy and impact investing, which still largely circulates in privileged circles. In this panel, Sikowis, Nick Estes, and Alexis Bunten discuss colonial-capitalism and how Indigenous-led strategies offer a pathway towards an equitable and regenerative future.
Indigenous women entrepreneurs are leading the most innovative solutions for community wellness despite disproportionately facing rampant descrimination, violence and lack of access to social goods. For Native Peoples, economic empowerment is not just measured in dollars, but also in terms of challenging stereotypes, responsibilities to future generations, and relationship to ancestral homelands. Join this panel to learn more about how Native Women Lead in partnership with New Mexico Community Capital are at the cutting edge of supporting business women and healing communities. Topics discussed will include how to challenge current systems while working within them, new models for economic empowerment in communities incorrectly written off as “high risk,” quadruple bottom line evaluation metrics and centering Indigeonus women’s voices through storytelling through media.
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