Starting point: Recognition of common sustainability issues, and need to band together

Organizing strategy: An annual national conference

Tools: Meetings, electronic communications

Outcomes: A national place for sharing vision and practice around sustainability

Primary Resources:

Founded in 1990 in Santa Fe, New Mexico by social entrepreneurs Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons, Bioneers has acted as a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. A celebration of the genius of nature and human ingenuity, Bioneers connects people with breakthrough solutions and each other. Our acclaimed annual national and local conferences are complemented by extensive media outreach including an award-winning radio series, book series, and role in media projects such as Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The 11th Hour. Our programs further focus on Women’s Leadership, Indigenous Wisdom, Community Resilience Networks, and Leadership Development and Youth.

Our Programs & Initiatives

Indigeneity is a program of Bioneers that promotes indigenous leaders and indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), as a critical path to support all people in learning to honor bio-cultural landscapes, indigenous lifeways, and “reconnect to place” so we may restore social and ecological balance to Mother Earth.  Indigeneity builds meaningful and powerful alliances between indigenous leaders and global support to sustain biocultural diversity and preserve sacred sites, landscapes and the traditions of indigenous peoples.

We are working on the issues that are holding back indigenous communities and indigenous leaders from fully embracing the sacred role they are holding for the planet.”

Indigenous peoples—keepers of the world’s“old-growth cultures”—provide critically important leadership and insight into Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), empirical indigenous science highly specific to place, earned over generations of careful observation and cumulative collective experience.  To meet today’s challenge of  potential global collapse that no society has ever faced, indigenous science offers a way of knowing that can provide a crucial complement to the tools of Western Science.  First Peoples also carry what is sometimes called “The Original Instructions” –guiding principles, values, ethics, social processes and tools for how a culture or society can collectively organize itself in relations to place, embody kinship, and practice peace.

The First Peoples around the world are the guardians of lands that contain as much as 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity.  The Indigeneity Program has been launched to help conserve this biodiversity, as well as to help conserve traditional knowledge and cultures.  Indigeneity highlights “biocultural mimicry” to offer models of how old-growth cultures have learned to live in the long haul in relative balance with natural systems.  Through this perspective, it is possible to reinvent and rebuild communities in accordance with ecological principles and social equity.

Indigeneity has been central to Bioneers World renowned Annual Conference in San Rafael, CA since it’s inception in 1990.  The Indigenous Forum at the conference is a sovereign space dedicated to indigenous programming, designed by partner organizations the Cultural Conservancy and the Indigenous Environmental Network.  At a time of great mainstream receptivity, the Indigenous Forum provides space for in-depth explorations of Indigeneity.

From the Indigeneity programming content, Bioneers is generating and disseminating media and educational materials with uniquely valuable indigenous perspectives through multiple channels.  Indigeneity promotes biocultural diversity conservation, the protection of Native lands, indigenous human rights and the leadership of indigenous peoples.  Bioneers award winning radio series, Bioneers:  Revolution from the heart of Nature has a total U.S. market coverage of over 100 million listeners and has been broadcast in over 11 countries.  All of the Indigeneity programming serves as a widely distributed public education outlet that provides a critical bridge between indigenous cultural leaders and the world.