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Category archives for Indigenous Knowledge

Marigolds: an (agri)cultural staple

The first seeds I ever saved were marigold seeds. At the time, I was a garden educator at a small neighborhood environmental nonprofit in Camden, New Jersey. The Center for Environmental Transformation(CFET) is situated in the South Waterfront neighborhood, an old urban community enclosed by industrial facilities which not only restrict access to the nearby waterfront, but…

Our Seed Stories – a Participatory Educational Media Project this School Year

Join me this school year on my journey to India to learn about seed saving, community food systems, and how to cultivate a future for biodiversity!

The Last Ice: Stories From Sacred Spaces

From Pacific islands to Arctic coastlines, indigenous people have been listening to and learning from the environment for millennia. Now more than ever, it’s time for everyone to hear what it’s saying.

Hawaiian Voyaging Canoe and Viking Longship Meet for First Time

Two different traditional voyaging canoes from opposite ends of the globe find parallels in their missions of exploration.

Young Micronesians Explore Nan Madol: A New UNESCO World Heritage Site Located In Their Backyard.

Last month, UNESCO officially announced 21 new additions to the World Heritage Sites list. One of these — located on the Micronesian island of Pohnpei — is the ruins of Nan Madol. In celebration of their island treasure being recognized as a World Heritage Site, a group of local Pohnpeian college students took on the responsibility of providing the international community with their own local stories and images of Nan Madol.

In Canada’s Boreal Forest, ‘The Land That Gives Life’ Inspires a Push for Protection

A couple works to win UNESCO recognition to help save the vast wilderness of Pimachiowin Aki and preserve a culture’s link to the Earth  For millennia, the Anishinaabe people of the Poplar River First Nation, in the Canadian province of Manitoba, have called the boreal forest that surrounds and sustains them Pimachiowin Aki: The Land…

Life in a Harsh Paradise: Surviving Drought on Banaba Island

Drought is a way of life on Banaba—a way of life Taboree Biremon knows all too well. “My wife and I didn’t eat. We fed the children,” explained Biremon, describing life during a drought that hit Banaba a few years back. “There was no food. We fed the children first, but we were starving. We…

Traditional Seafarers Gather to Celebrate Art and Culture in the Pacific Islands

Last month, traditional voyagers from all throughout Oceania sailed to Guam to attend the 12th Annual Festival of the Pacific Arts. This event, happening every four years, brings together islanders from 27 different island nations for a celebration of culture, art, and most importantly, solidarity.

The Kazakh Women Felters of Zarshiganak

When life gives you wool, make felt. That was the lesson Kalimash Baimuhanova learned in the difficult years following the Soviet Union’s collapse. The village of Zarshiganak sits on the ironing-board flat steppes of northeastern Kazakhstan. During the USSR, it was a thriving community of shepherd families who worked on the Kalinsky Collective Farm. In…

Rising Sea Threatens Traditional Leadership in Kiribati

Surviving on an isolated, infertile island is tough—but managing the scarce resources needed for thousands of families to survive on that island is an even greater challenge. The people of Kiribati have done so for centuries through the village maneaba, the consensus-based village leadership system. This is where the council of elders, te unimane, meet…

Journey Into Te Bangabanga: The Sacred Caves of Banaba Island

The morning was still dark when the young men arrived with their machetes and flashlights. We were on one of the most remote islands in the world, about to venture into an underground network of sacred caves known as te bangabanga. The land below the surface of Banaba, a Pacific island nearly 200 miles from…

Bellringers of the Russian Orthodox Church Toll for Religious Freedom

After 75 years of religious persecution, under the Soviet regime, the Russian Orthodox Church has experienced a renaissance. In belfry towers across Russia, Orthodox bellringers toll their anthems of freedom.  

The Cowboy Trade Builds a Bridge of Friendship Between a Russian and an American

Yury Rybakov hadn’t ridden a horse before. Nor had he herded cattle or thrown a lariat. But he had the cowboy bug and wanted me to teach him a thing or two. I was spending the week on Angus Shestakovo Ranch, where Yury worked. I agreed to help, but warned that learning the cowboy trade doesn’t happen overnight.…

Russian Cowboys Learn to Ride Western

American cowboy Shane Stotler points out his truck window at a herd of cattle just cresting a hill on the horizon. Normally, he’d be out there riding with the Russian workers he’s been hired to train by Miratorg, Russia’s largest cattle operation. Instead, he’s waited for me at ranch headquarters so we can drive out…

Notes from the Field: Reporting on ‘Island Time’

After three dizzying days at sea, I was relieved to step off the boat in Tarawa, Kiribati. I’d just spent six weeks on the remote Pacific island of Banaba–a place so isolated that currently there is no phone, internet, or mail service. Being off the grid for more than a month was difficult for me,…