Tag Archives: Nia Tero

Seedcast: Art, Revolution, and Native Futurity

by Eileen Jimenez

Help the Emerald create more “ripples and sparks” throughout the community! I’m the publisher’s mother and an Emerald founding board member. I’ve lived in Seattle all my life. Over most of those 77 years, the brilliance, diversity, and beauty of our community lacked a constant spotlight — that was until the Emerald came along. I’ve seen my son and the Emerald team sacrifice sleep, health care, self-care, and better salaries elsewhere to keep the Emerald shining a light on our community. I’d never ask anyone to make that kind of sacrifice, but I do ask to do what you can today to support the Emerald as a Rainmaker, or sustaining donor, during their 8th anniversary campaign, Ripples & Sparks at Home, April 20–28. Become a Rainmaker today by choosing the “recurring donor” option on the donation page!

—Cynthia “Mama” Green, The Publisher’s Mama & Rainmaker 

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.


My mother is Maria Cruz, my grandmother is Eloisa Saavedra, and my great-grandmother is Isidora Saavedra. They are matriarchs of the Otomi people, an Indigenous group in Michoacán/Guanajuato, Mexico. I was the first member of my family to be born in the U.S., and I was raised in Anaheim, California. I currently live ​on occupied Duwamish Territory (Seattle, Washington). I am a queer Indigneous printmaker, a doctoral student, and the dean for Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at South Seattle College. I am also currently a Nia Tero Pacific Northwest Art Fellow. 

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Seedcast: You Don’t Leave Anything Behind

by Michael Painter

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.

Content Warning: This piece includes references to the experience of attending Indigenous boarding schools in the United States and the aftermath of catastrophic weather events.


When I introduce myself, I start with the most important: I’m a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. I grew up in Indian Territory, often referred to as Oklahoma. I currently live on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish peoples, now known as West Seattle. Then, if there’s time, I share a little about my job and life experience. I’m a lawyer, a family physician, a father and grandfather, and I’m managing director, Programs at Nia Tero based in Coast Salish Territory.

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Seedcast: An Environmental Storyteller Reconnects to His Farming Heritage

by Felipe Contreras


In my role as an associate producer on the Storytelling team at Nia Tero, I have a bit of a reputation. Whenever there’s a photo or video shoot on a farm, they call me — “the farm guy.” So when I was asked to do a photoshoot on an Indigenous-run farm in Tacoma last fall, I accepted the assignment with glee.

That I’m “the farm guy” at Nia Tero might be a surprise to people I grew up with in Los Angeles, including my blended Latine family and community. The only farms I knew during my childhood were the ones our family car passed while driving on the 5. Before I would see the farms, I would smell the stench. And then we would see thousands of cows crammed in the isolated confines of what I now understand were factory farms. Once my dad saw me looking at the cows, and he said, “Those are not happy cows. Those are sad cows.” This was in stark contrast to commercials about “happy cows” from the same time period.

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Seedcast: We Are the Future Elders

by Clear Sky Native Youth Leadership Council interns Kayla Harstad, Lailani Norman, Tim Shay, and Akichita Taken Alive

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.


During Native American Heritage Month, we have a unique opportunity as Native teens to reflect on what the world expects from us and hopes for us. It can be overwhelming and exciting to think about what the future holds and the responsibilities we might take on, but one way we’ve each been able to gain clarity is through our involvement with the Seattle Clear Sky Native Youth Council, a youth-focused and directed program of the Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA). Clear Sky provides opportunities for deepening our connections with our intertribal community, while also affirming our cultural values, worldview, and traditional knowledge systems as well as empowering us to navigate racist colonial systems through advocacy, activism, and action. As individuals, we are teenagers, students, siblings, daughters and sons, and grandchildren as well as neighbors and friends to all in our community. But together, we have joined with our peers to take advantage of lessons in order to build the knowledge we need to stand in our truths as future elders.

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Seedcast: Art and Activism Across the Pacific

by Mia Kami

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.


My name is Amelia Filohivalu Yvaana Kami,  but I commonly go by Mia Kami. I am Tongan. Both of my parents are Tongan. My mom comes from the main island, from the villages of Kolomotu’a and Hofoa, and my dad is from Haʻapai, which is an outer island. I’m currently based in Suva, Fiji, where I just completed my studies in law and politics at the University of the South Pacific (USP). I am a singer. A songwriter. A new graduate and job-seeker. A daughter. A sister. A woman of the Pacific.

In 2018, a cousin of mine reached out because she was involved in an anti-logging campaign in the Oro Province of Papua New Guinea, and her group needed an anthem to motivate the team while inspiring awareness about these issues in the world and building momentum for their campaign. It was a smart decision. Art communicates and motivates in a way that data and speeches do not, merging the heart and the head. I was honored to be asked.

When I’m in the early stages with a song, it’s just me and my guitar. I start with a theme and some chords, then let the melodies and the words flow, recording myself so that I don’t lose anything good. With this anthem, I didn’t want to be too obvious, so I stayed away from lyrics like “deforestation is bad.” Luckily, pretty early on, I found the word “rooted,” and it just stuck. “Rooted” became the center and title of the song.

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Seedcast: Storytelling Is Guardianship

by Tracy Rector

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.


Many of us have known for quite a while that climate change, accelerated by human decisions and behaviors, is not only real but a direct threat to life as we know it. While the findings of the IPCC report released in August of 2021 might not have been a surprise, that didn’t make them less alarming. The report inspired urgent conversations not only at planet-focused nonprofits like the one I work at, Nia Tero, but on a global scale and in individual homes: What can we do to heal the planet? What role can we play? Where are the solutions?

The good news is that human decisions and behaviors can also heal the planet, as evidenced by the land guardianship carried out by Indigenous peoples around the world in the form of tending to the land with fire, seed saving, or not taking more than you need. Indigenous land stewardship shows us not only the ways of the past and present but also the ways of the future. As an extension of that work, Indigenous storytelling links a millennium of knowledge with current day action. This is why Indigenous storytelling is an integral part of climate justice today.

Nia Tero Storytelling Fellow Jonathan Luna (Huila) connects Indigenous land sovereignty and narrative sovereignty in this way: “As part of creating the world, a place with more justice and liberation for all, historically oppressed and marginalized people, which include Indigenous peoples, need to create our own narratives regarding our lived experiences, be it historical or contemporary. The role of storytelling in these struggles, in all of its multiple forms and media, is fundamental and necessary; there are no imitations, fast-forwards, or shortcuts. The narratives of the people who dedicate their lives on the frontlines of defending the most biodiverse, water-rich yet fragile ecosystems that contribute to help sustain the world’s climate are the stories that policymakers need to be seeing and hearing.” 

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‘Thriving Peoples, Thriving Places’: Pop Art Campaign Honors the Contributions of Indigenous Women to Global Biodiversity

by Nia Tero

(This article originally appeared on Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


We are in a critical moment. In the midst of an ongoing global pandemic that is leaving no family untouched, compounded by increasingly extreme weather events linked to climate change, a unique global art project is shining a light on voices essential to the ecological solutions and collective healing we seek: Indigenous women.

“Thriving Peoples, Thriving Places” is a collaboration between two Seattle-based not-for-profit organizations — Indigenous-focused Nia Tero and design lab Amplifier — launching on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which is Aug. 9. The global exhibit includes six original portraits commissioned from Washington, D.C.-based artist and illustrator Tracie Ching. The art will be available digitally as well as at public art events in cities, including Seattle, Washington, D.C., New York City, São Paulo, and London. The project celebrates Indigenous women who have acted as stewards of biodiversity across Earth and prompts action amongst an engaged global audience.

The nine Indigenous women at the center of this project are robust examples of real action we can take to strive for the health and future of the planet. They are from communities spanning the globe, from the Philippines and New Zealand, to the Brazilian Amazon to Scandinavia, to the global north, embodying Indigenous experience while carrying generational knowledge and inherited dedication:

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Seedcast: Colleen Echohawk on Family and Inspiration

by Felipe Contreras

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.


On March 24, my colleagues and I on Nia Tero’s Seedcast team will release the first episode of our new season of the podcast, featuring an interview with Colleen Echohawk, executive director of Chief Seattle Club. Colleen is an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, and she is also adopted into the Ahtna/Athabaskan community where she grew up in Mentasta Lake, Alaska. I was honored to interview Colleen for the episode, which is focused on Colleen’s exploration of what shaped her into the leader she is today, with an emphasis on her Indigenous heritage.

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Seedcast: On Home and Belonging for Black and Indigenous Peoples

by Inye Wokoma

Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Seedcast is a story-centered podcast by Nia Tero and a special monthly column produced in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald about nurturing and rooting stories of the Indigenous experience.


One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather waking up every morning before the sun came up. I was born in 1969 and in my early years, before my mother married my father, we lived with my grandparents. By the time I was maybe 4 or 5, my grandfather had retired. He had served in World War II in the motor pool in the South Pacific, and then, when he came to Seattle, he got a job at the Naval shipyards down on the piers here in the sound, later working with the transportation department until his retirement in the early ’70s. He came from a family of tenant farmers who migrated to the Northwest from the South who were used to working on the land. Their work ethic never left him. 

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Seedcast: Matt Remle on the Capitol Insurrection and What Happens Next

by Jess Ramirez

Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Seedcast is a story-centered podcast by Nia Tero and a special monthly column produced in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald about nurturing and rooting stories of the Indigenous experience.


We are living through some of the most historic events in the short history of the United States right now, and there’s a question I can’t shake: how does the reaction of law enforcement to the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, compare to the reaction of law enforcement to Indigenous-led protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline or Standing Rock? We’re spending the first part of 2021 deep in planning for our next set of Seedcast episodes, so here is a separate conversation I had with community steward/organizer and father Matt Remle (Hunkpapa Lakota) about his take on last week’s insurgency, his assessment of the inequalities laid bare, and our hopes and responsibilities in the wake of it. We got to know each other while working on the campaign to get Wells Fargo to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Matt is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and was a local Seattle leader in that campaign.

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