Envisioning possibilities and creating opportunities for the betterment of our Native People and Communities for generations to come.
The mission of Wiconi International is to work for the well-being of our Native people by advancing cultural formation, indigenous education, spiritual awareness and social justice connected to the teachings and life of Jesus, through an indigenous worldview framework.
Wiconi International is a Native founded and led, not-for-profit organization that is community-based, beginning in the Portland/Vancouver Metro area. Our mission can best be illustrated with a four-quadrant circle representing four major forces or sets of factors that together must come into balance if a preferred future is to be realized; these are, Family, Community, Education and Spirituality. The ways these forces in our circle are expressed organizationally are woven throughout our Guiding Values.
We seek to operate within a historical indigenous worldview, with contemporary applications, which is rooted in tribal cultures and the recognition that all life comes from, and is sustained by, a loving Creator, whom we embrace in Jesus the Christ. Our approach to serving our Native communities is informed and inspired by Lakota Traditional Values and the Seven Directions tradition of North, East, South, West, Up, Down and Inward. It is spiritual, intuitive, deeply relational, fluid and always community-based, seeking the common good.
North (Wisdom): Wisdom is the ability to make good decisions, not just for personal success, but for family and community benefit too. Wisdom leads to the center of community well-being, which is the promotion, and support of family, cultural and spiritual values. Education: Indigenous education is a key to creating a better future for our Native communities. We are deeply committed to creating better ways to do education rooted in a Native worldview, cultural understandings and spiritual reality. We host an annual cross-cultural learning experience on the Rosebud Lakota/Sioux Reservation, participate in the North American Institute of Indigenous Theological Studies, and Richard Twiss teaches courses at Portland State University, Sioux Falls and George Fox Seminaries.
East (Fortitude): Fortitude can be seen as the inner strength or inner fire that allows an individual to persevere in the face of adversity. Family: In the face of hostile political policies, centuries of colonialism and socio-economic disparities, we choose to stand in the strength and grace of a good gospel as a voice for justice, reconciliation and peace. To create a preferred future, in part, we host our annual Mni Wiconi Wacipi “Living Waters Powwow” and Family Camp, promoting Native cultural and spiritual values while inviting community participation.
South (Generousity):Generosity is giving of possessions, time and energy to others so that they may helped, encouraged and blessed. Community: Each year, seeking the common good of the city, we help organize and serve, with a staff of dozens of volunteers, several other native organizations cultural events, including powwows, festivals and reconciliation gatherings to demonstrate peace and generosity.
West (Courage): Courage is the willingness to put oneself in harms way to protect family and community or to advance a higher cause or purpose. Courage is a necessary quality for community and spiritual leaders to make the needed sacrifices for good leadership. Education & Community:We seek to work and stand for what is right, even when it is unpopular. Practically, young leaders participating in our Salmon Nation Internship Program, an inter-faith, multi-cultural year-long leadership development experience, will learn to become better human beings by increasing their capacity to love deeply, serve generously, care sacrificially, walk respectfully and embrace others. It takes courage to want to be this kind of person.
Up (Honor): Honor is having integrity and honest character—one who can be trusted. All human beings, and leaders in particular, therefore, must find help from above. Spirituality & Community:We provide spiritual and relational encouragement for our national tribal and Native organizational leaders by hosting the annual national tribal leaders prayer breakfast for the National Congress of American Indians.
Down (Respect): Respect is understanding and embracing the sacredness and value of all creation, including people, animals and earth. It informs the decisions we make every day about how to live in harmonious relationship with all living things. Family & Community:We are spiritual beings who learn to live in a loving, respectful and generous way with our family, neighbors and community. One way we do this is by creating volunteer opportunities between non-Native and Native people that are focused on practical assistance and relationship building that helps to eliminate ignorance and prejudice, leading to friendship and mutual awareness, in the midst of beautiful diversity.
Humility is the core value— it is understood that only Creator is sacred or perfect and human beings at their very best, by comparison, are pitiful. There is a fundamental understanding that our very existence is a gift from our Creator and accordingly we live with humility toward and for the well-being of all things. Spirituality:
All human beings desire a meaningful, enriching, fulfilling and good life with their family, friends and community. The ability to do this, however, is difficult. We embrace Jesus the Christ as this way, this truth and this life to empower us to live in a sacred and humble way.