Indigenous Sustainability 

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What is Indigenous Permaculture?

Indigenous permaculture is based on the philosophy and techniques of shared Indigenous ancient agricultural knowledge encompassing a balance of natural laws of mother earth. Contemporary Permaculture means permanent agriculture or culture, caring for Earth, People and Community, and sharing overabundance. Indigenous Permaculture weaves traditional ecological knowledge with innovative science. Our sessions highlight the following:

 _Community service learning skills

 _Connecting and healing with the soil and natural world utilizing all five senses

 _Encouraging People, Earth and Land stewardship

 _Instilling youth leadership values and lessons

 _Utilizing science, math and various art forms of expression

 _Encouraging healthier eating with traditional indigenous super foods

 _Learning full cycle planting, seedling identification, caretaking of plants, harvesting of produce and seed preservation.

Indigenous Permaculture Garden Project:

Her Many Voices Foundation will be providing simple kits for creating

small supplemental gardens for Indigenous and refugee women in the

Boulder and Denver area. The kits will include seeds, pots, fertilizer, soil,

and instructions. We are growing native heirloom, GMO-free seeds from

native seed banks, donations from community members, and various native organizations. We hope to establish a thriving native heirloom seed library to feed our local native communities and share our precious seeds with other native communities. Ms Francis is providing phone and online support during the Coronavirus for all participants. The gardens will be a way for these women to feel a sense of empowerment; to channel their anxiety into production; and to create a supplement to their food needs. Many are looking at healing their youth and communities through soil and the natural world. Now, more than ever, we need healing.

Shannon Francis

Indigenous Permaculture Coordinator & Instructor

Ms Francis is Dineh (Navajo) from Shiprock, New Mexico and Hopi from Kykotsmovi, Arizona. Shannon is Towering House clan born for Red Running through the Water clan. Her Hopi clans are Massau’, Bear Sand, and Snake Clan. She has been a member of the Denver Native community since her early 20s and has served on various native nonprofit organizations, boards and councils within the Native community. She is Board Chair for the Four Winds American Indian Council in Denver, was nominated and selected as one of three of the 2015 Cesar Chavez awards for her work with Indigenous gardening and food justice and a mother of six and grandmother of three.


Ms Francis is a certified Permaculture Design Instructor, focusing more on Indigenous Permaculture, the weaving of Traditional Ecological Knowledge with innovative science, and she is one of the few female Indigenous Permaculturists in the Rocky Mountain and Southwestern regions. She comes from twelve generations of earth caretakers and seed keepers. Shannon is an active educator and has presented and taught widely on permaculture design and also practicing Indigenous Permaculture with the Denver Indian Family Resource, Four Winds American Indian Council, Rocky Ridge Boarding School on the Navajo Nation and Montbello Urban Farm through Children’s Farms of America. Her passion is instilling reciprocal relationships by connecting people to the natural world through seeds, soil and the elements.


3 Sisters Sovereignty Project

Shé:kon Sewakwé:kon (Hello All!)

Our names are Katsitsienhawi Wakskarèwake (Tiffany Cook), Bear Clan; Teiohontáthe Wakskarèwake (Fallan Jacobs), Bear Clan; and Kawenniiosta Wakahthahiónni (Kawenniiosta Jock), Wolf Clan. We are three Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) women from the Mohawk Nation of Ahkwesasne which straddles the borders of Ontario, Quebec and northern New York.

Fulfilling prophecy, and in the context of the global climate emergency, we have formed the Three Sisters Sovereignty Project to restore our food, energy and cultural sovereignty by re-birthing a sustainable community based on traditional ways of life, on our ancestral soils of the Schoharie Valley in Central New York, a four hour drive south of Ahkwesasne.

For the health of our Nation and our future we don’t have a choice but to return to our ancestral lands. The Ahkwesasne reservation is one of the top ten Superfund sites (a place where hazardous waste is located) with one of the largest PCB dumps in North America -- courtesy of Alcoa, Reynolds and General Motors. The toxins are in the soil, the water, and are even airborne. Diabetes and cancer rates are through the roof. The EPA warns residents not to eat any fish from the river. Our children are sick and it’s too polluted to grow food outside.

It seems that in Ahkwesasne we are forever fighting assimilation and colonization to preserve our traditional system and keep it alive. We need a clean environment so that our original ways and our people can thrive again.

We are mothers, grandmothers and community leaders with a goal of returning to our ancestral valleys to establish a traditional community, heirloom seed garden, language school, educational longhouse, communal cookhouse and cannery – with additional plans and partnership opportunities for industrial hemp production and other sustainable enterprises.

To begin the Three Sisters Sovereignty Project, 10 acres of land in West Fulton, NY have been donated for the educational longhouse, cookhouse, and cannery. Another 7 acres in Gilboa bordering NY state forest have been donated as ceremonial grounds for rites of passage for our youth. As farms and land in the area become available, we would like to acquire them, expand our community and establish a bioregional forest, water and wildlife sanctuary under indigenous stewardship.

Along with the destruction of our food systems and indigenous ways of life, we are at a climate tipping point on our planet and in the midst of a 6th mass extinction. This is a very challenging moment to be alive -- but it is also a time of tremendous possibility and change. With your support we can and will establish a sustainable community based on our original instructions. Our prayer is that our hard work and vision will be an example of how to create new ways of walking together and restoring health and balance for our families, children, unborn, and all life and creatures on our beautiful Mother Earth.

Sovereignty is an action. In this time of climate crisis, we all have a responsibility. In forming the Three Sisters Sovereignty Project we are taking care of our inherent responsibilities.

Niawenkó:wa tánon Tetewatenonhwerá:tons
(Thank you so much. We are thankful!)

Katsitsienhawi, Teiohontathe tánon Kawenniiosta.