Media and Curriculum for Social Change

Photo credit: Google

The Bioneers Indigeneity Program is the go-to source for accurate and contemporary media featuring Indigenous visionaries from across North America. Over the past 10 years, the Indigeneity Program has cultivated a rich repository of videos, transcripts and audio recordings showcasing Indigenous youth, elders and leaders from around the world who have shared Indigenous approaches to environmental, human rights, and social equity issues. This one-of-a-kind collection of authentic, Indigenous voices will continue to impact grassroots and international efforts to restore planet and people for many years to come.

Native Youth and New Media

We believe that all of the Native youth who participate in our leadership programs will be well-equipped to make the world a better place. Knowing that they inherently possess the knowledge of what matters in life, we will continue to provide opportunities for Native youth to share their voices through new media.

Intercultural Conversations

Intercultural Conversations (ICC) is an educational exchange between 20 Native American and 20 non-Native, diverse youth. Participants meet once a month to discuss thematic topics presented in Bioneers Indigeneity media in a “talking circle” format.

Between these meetings, facilitators present accompanying lesson plans that equip them to teach Indigenous topics in the classroom through a “train the trainer” model supported by Bioneers Indigeneity staff. Months of learning and dialogue culminate with in person cultural exchanges on the Navajo Nation and at the annual Bioneers Conference.

ICC curriculum employs a transformative approach that enables students to view concepts, issues, and events from multiple perspectives. Instead of being treated as passive learners, youth participants are engaged as change-makers, and supportively encouraged through Indigenous pedagogies.

Through this process, youth participants experience profound personal development in their ability to relate to and empathize with others, understand complex issues, and communicate cross-culturally. Our goal is to transform the lives of 400 students in 10 years, while developing templates and curricula that are replicable nationwide.

Learn more about Intercultural Conversations.

Digital Natives

“Digital Natives” is a reciprocal partnership between Bioneers, Google Earth Outreach, and Native youth serving organizations in the greater San Francisco Bay area.

Bioneers first began working with Google Earth Outreach and its founder, Rebecca Moore, in 2007, collaborating with Navajo (Diné) Nation youth to map solar energy resources on the Nation’s lands.

This initiative trains Indigenous youth to use digital tools and platforms for storytelling and communications over a six-month period, culminating in an award ceremony at the annual Bioneers conference.

At the 2018 Bioneers Conference, Native youth presented their digital storytelling maps to a standing-roomonly audience. Overall, participants felt empowered, learning lessons they will be able to apply across contexts immediately and in the future.

Indigeneity Curriculum

To support the use of Bioneers’ original content in the classroom, we’ve developed study guides and lesson plans aligned with national standards for grades 9-12+. This curriculum offers educators an invaluable toolkit for optimizing the educational potential of evergreen Bioneers media.

We created our first educational study guides in 2015 on topics including “Biocultural Conservation in the Amazon” led by Chief Almir (Surui Tribe), and “Survive and Thrive” based on the teachings of John Mohawk (Seneca).

We expanded these efforts in 2017 through the establishment of the “Indigeneity Learning” curriculum. Units are organized thematically, covering topics including, Cultural Appropriation, Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change, and Native Americans and Racism. Each unit includes full educator support materials including a lesson plan, scripted teacher presentations, original media featuring Indigenous subject matter experts, additional readings, discussions, activities, and assessment.

In 2018, we piloted this curricula with high school students from across the U.S. Our evaluation showed significant learning and transformative growth among students of all backgrounds. Students demonstrated a more sophisticated understanding of Indigenous topics, an increased ability to empathize, and a greater ability to articulate complex issues from a cross-cultural perspective.

In 2019, we developed four discussion guides on the topics of “Tribal Sovereignty,” “Water is Life,” “Just Transition,” and “Allyship with Indigenous Peoples” to accompany Indigenous Forum media captured in 2018. We also created an extended curriculum bundle on the topic of Allyship for the classroom.

We are now expanding this initiative by making our curriculum resources available nationally to educators who teach in a variety of subjects. We offer a collection of fully teacher-supported, modular lesson plans on Indigenous topics that meet standards in social and life sciences.

Click here to access the curriculum.

Indigeneity Media Released Recently:

  • Bioneers Indigeneity promotional video
  • California Indian Genocide and Resilience, featuring Loren Bommelyn (Tolowa) Chairperson, Tolowa Deeni’ Nation; Marshall McKay (Yoche Dehe Wintun Nation) Chairman, Yoche Dehe; Corrina Gould (Chochenyo/Karkin Ohlone) Founder of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust
  • Indians in California School Books, featuring Loren Bommelyn (Tolowa) Chairperson, Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation
  • Commodification of Nature, featuring Tom Goldtooth (Diné/Dakota) Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network
  • Seven Generations, featuring Kapuna M. Kalani Souza (Kanaka Maoli) Executive Director, Olohana Foundation
  • Climate Change Across the Pacific, featuring Sven Haawkanson Jr. (Alutiiq), Professor and Curator of Native American Anthropology, University of Washington, Kapuna M. Kalani Souza (Kanaka Maoli) Executive Director, Olohana Foundation, Maui Solomon (Moriori) Lawyer and Indigenous Rights Activist
  • How Indian Mascots Dehumanize, featuring Dahkota Brown (Wilton-Miwok) Founder of NERDS, Native Education Raising Dedicated Students, and appointee to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education
  • Fighting Racism in School, featuring Dahkota Brown (Wilton-Miwok) Founder of NERDS, Native Education Raising Dedicated Students, and appointee to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education; Chiitaanibah Johnson (Diné/Maidu) Indigenous Rights Activist; Jayden Lim (Pomo) Native Youth Ambassador, California Indian Museum and Cultural Center; and, Naelyn Pike (Chiricahua Apache) Organizer and Native Rights Activist, Oak Flat.
  • The Real History of Thanksgiving: A Conversation featuring Alexis Bunten (Unangan/Yup’ik) Bioneers Indigeneity Program Manager, and Chris Newell (Passamaquoddy) Akomawt Educational Initiative Co-Founder and Director of Education.

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