by Ashley Hernandez, based on an interview with Sofia Arroyo, Executive Director of Sacred Fire Foundation and edited by Sacred Fire Foundation
Mounting global issues, such as climate change and others, leave many of us searching for solutions and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems. How can we create the change necessary to address these looming dangers? For Sacred Fire Foundation, many of these solutions can be found by looking into the past–rather than towards the future—to re-encounter Indigenous worldviews. “Indigenous wisdom has prevailed through millennia and has sustained Indigenous communities. Through the values of this ancestral wisdom, including reciprocity and care for the earth, humanity can learn how to live in the world in a respectful and peaceful manner,” said Sofia Arroyo, Executive Director at Sacred Fire Foundation.
Sacred Fire Foundation believes that Indigenous media can be a powerful tool to effect social transformation because it can disseminate time-tested Indigenous world views virtually everywhere. As Sofia explained, “media today is an incredible platform that allows people from all over the planet to learn about Indigenous ways of being. Through our new media program, we hope to reach a broader audience to build awareness around the values of Indigenous perspectives and give people an experience around these viewpoints.”
Sacred Fire Foundation’s multi-media program, involving videos, podcasts, social media and even an app, is intended to engage a broad, international audience. The content will be diverse: from traditional storytelling that illustrates Indigenous communities’ solutions to climate change, conflict resolution and other issues, to short, artistic pieces that use creative visual techniques to convey nuggets of wisdom by Indigenous elders. “The reason we are using different platforms, not just mainstream media, has to do with the reality that nowadays people are getting their media from a variety of sources,” Sofia said. “We want people to be able to access and experience this content in a way that works best for them.”
Sacred Fire Foundation recognizes that youth are often at the forefront of formidable social change movements, but they often have little connection to the ancestral wisdom of Indigenous elders. As part of the media project, the organization aspires to bridge this gap: it is producing a podcast series to cultivate this important intergenerational knowledge. The podcasts, which are increasingly popular among younger audiences, will feature Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth engaging with Indigenous elders through interviews and conversations.