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Initiatives

Creating outlets for change and opportunity

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Nia Tero supports initiatives globally that align with the organization’s mission and values.

From building infrastructure on-site with Indigenous partners to developing a network of Indigenous mediamakers, take a closer look at our initiatives and learn how you can get involved.

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Enacting programs with a commitment to Indigenous guardianship.

Biocultural Monitoring

When fully implemented, this powerful capability will empower both guardians and their allies to enable collaboration about real time guardianship activity, assisting Indigenous leaders as they inform policy making.

Since the end of 2019, Nia Tero has been working with Conservation Metrics, Terras App, and Tui Shortland—a Maori expert on biocultural metrics—on the development of a monitoring system appropriate for our place-anchored partnerships. This system aims to follow an approach that begins with connecting cultural perspectives to place based values, knowledge, relationships, and needs; and recognizes mutual interdependence between ecological states and human well-being.

In 2020, a beta-version of the system was developed which enables Indigenous peoples to track how they are thriving based on their self-determined vision of wellbeing, how their territories are thriving rooted in land-use and land-cover, and other environmental changes. In 2020, we expanded the definition of high-level biocultural metrics and developed high-level protocols ensuring Indigenous peoples engage in the use of the monitoring system on their own terms; however COVID-19 delayed the progress on testing this biocultural approach on the ground.

In 2021 we advanced testing of the biocultural approach to monitoring in two Indigenous territories in Amazonia, where partners are eager to have a system supporting their territorial protection efforts. Looking ahead, we hope to expand offering Indigenous partners the opportunity to access this system to track ecosystem changes within their territories.

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cINeDIGENOUS

The cINeDIGENOUS series uplifts, amplifies, and celebrates Indigenous voices and stories, focusing on global Indigenous filmmakers and their influences within cinematic culture.

Centering Indigenous creatives and media makers amplifies voices and perspectives that are essential to our global wellbeing. cINeDIGENOUS is curated and presented in partnership with SIFF, and features film screenings on Coast Salish territory and beyond, and a virtual classroom series where participants can learn from and engage with Indigenous filmmakers.

Infrastructure & Innovation

Around the world, our Indigenous partners are leading efforts to safeguard the full ecological vigor of their territories, including thriving and diverse ecosystems, globally significant carbon stocks, and the vast and invaluable cultural diversity of Indigenous societies.

Our Infrastructure & Innovation work is focused on amplifying and accelerating Indigenous technologies including transportation, communications, and monitoring systems that build autonomy and sovereignty.

Our Infrastructure & Innovation strategy focuses on two thematic priorities identified by our external regional advisory councils, and our program team partners:

  1. Transportation and Energy
  2. Technology

Starting with initial R&D investments in 2020, our efforts continue to mature and integrate closely with our regional strategies, as well as our crosscutting work in Program Related Investments (PRIs) and the Technodigenous initiative.

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Kara Solar

Kara Solar is a solar-powered river transportation, energy, and community enterprise initiative in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Since 2012, a team of engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs, together with Achuar community members and leaders, have been working together on this shared dream.

Our work takes three complimentary and interconnected approaches: infrastructure, people, planning. The initiative is based on the belief that the best way to preserve the rainforest is to empower its Indigenous custodians. By transforming energy use in vulnerable territories, we are activating resilient technological and socio-economic alternatives to degradation and exploitation.

Solar powered boat on water

Kin Theory

We’re building a database for Indigenous creatives. Our goal:

To foster community with other creatives while increasing visibility, hiring opportunities, and collaborations in global media industries. We prioritize Indigenous peoples and actively seek to build coalition with other artists in the global majority, including Black, Latinx, Asian, and people of color, as well as people who are undocumented, femme, trans, and nonbinary people, LGBTQIA+ people, and people with disabilities. We look forward to building a new way of working in a changing world while showcasing and creating community for Indigenous screen storytellers.

Tepee under a cloud filled sky

Reciprocity Project

Reciprocity Project seeks to embrace the value of reciprocity through Indigenous perspectives through storytelling, film, podcasts, and other creative mediums. In doing so, we aim to create a paradigm shift that reframes our relationships to the Earth, other living beings, and one another.

Reciprocity

Technodigenous

Indigenous Peoples and local communities live on and manage more than half of the world’s land and waters.

As guardians of their ancestral territories, they ensure the continuity of thriving cultures and the protection of the ecosystems we all depend on. Their relation to nature is guided by their time-tested knowledges and technologies. Yet, such knowledge is rarely incorporated in the development of technologies and there seldom exists opportunities for co-creating solutions following their guidance.

Technodigenous aims to change that by being a space to share knowledge, experiences, ideas, and inspiration while building a community of practitioners, technologists, and thinkers who can work together co-creating Indigenous-led solutions to strengthen Indigenous Peoples rights and self-determination.

Technodigenous will facilitate an ongoing discussion, frank and constructive, between practitioners, technologist and thinkers about the differences in perspectives of technological development, the ethical challenges of interaction, and possible sets of guiding principles for the co-design, adaptation, and deployment of technological solutions in Indigenous territories. Technodigenous is designed around Indigenous Peoples’ experiences and views of certain existing technological solutions, as a way of grounding the conversation in concrete Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives. Additionally, Technodigenous will nurture a growing number of thematic conversations and workshops, with brainstorming sessions specifically aimed at useful practical outcomes.

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Thriving Peoples. Thriving Places.

In partnership with Amplifier design lab, Nia Tero launched the Thriving Peoples. Thriving Places. campaign on International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples 2021 as a timely reflection and embodiment of the focus of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), when leadership from across the globe will meet, with the purpose of collectively tackling climate change.

The Indigenous women activists, artists, and scholars at the heart of this campaign exemplify the ideals of guardianship, kinship, reciprocity, and wisdom. Their voices, work, and leadership benefit not only their own peoples and communities, but all of us who share this planet — which is why now, more than ever, we must celebrate them, listen to them, and most importantly, follow their lead.

Women standing with first raised next to painting on a pillar next to a river with two people in indigenous face paint and slogan t-shirts

Vaka Pasifika

Vaka Pasifika is a Nia Tero initiative aimed at supporting the ongoing movement of people and communities who are working towards a society rooted in the concept of human reciprocity with all beings and a living planet.

Vaka Pasifika aims to create a living inclusive network of partners or crewmembers – who are all navigating towards a shared vision of the future for their communities, their islands, and their ocean. To support the growth and flourishing of this network, the Vaka Pasifika team will create spaces and events where Pasifika peoples can connect with each other and explore shared stories and histories.

Sailboats on the water