Rowen White and Rachel Wolfgramm with Host Melissa K. Nelson

What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be? (Part 1)

Indigenous Writers Address the Seventh Fire

Co-presented by the New School at Commonweal and the Center for Humans and Nature—in celebration of the book What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be? and the 10th anniversary of the Center’s Questions for a Resilient Future Series

Join us for a series of two conversations with indigenous leaders about the Seventh Fire—an Anishinaabe prophecy that points to our current time, with opportunities for healing, solidarity, and Indigenous cultural recovery and revitalization. In this conversation, Host Melissa K. Nelson (Anishinaabe/Metis) speaks with Rowen White (Mohawk) and Rachel Wolfgramm, PhD (Whakatōhea, Ngāi Takoto, Te Aupouri, Tonga). The follow-up conversation event with Kaylena Bray (Seneca) and Nicola Wagenberg (Colombian) can be found here.

Podcast listeners can follow along with the visual elements of this program with these slides and this film.

Rowen White (Mohawk)

Rowen is a seed keeper and farmer from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and a passionate activist for Indigenous seed sovereignty. She weaves stories of seeds, food, culture, and sacred Earth stewardship on her blog, Seed Songs, and cultivates a legacy of seeds and cultural memory with the Indigenous Seedkeepers Network. She is the director and founder of Sierra Seeds, an organic seed cooperative focusing on local seed production and education, based in Nevada City, California. She teaches creative seed training immersions around the country within tribal and small farming communities.

Rachel Wolfgramm, PhD (Whakatōhea, Ngāi Takoto, Te Aupouri, Tonga)

Rachel is a principal investigator for Nga Pae o te Maramatanga and is currently leading a project along with a team of senior Maori academics and doctoral students investigating leadership in economies of well being. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School and is an active researcher, author, and consultant in sustainability, leadership, intercultural communications, and Maori development. Over the past 15 years, her research has been published in international journals and books and presented at numerous conferences across Europe, the United States, and Asia Pacific.

Host Melissa K. Nelson (Anishinaabe/Metis)

Melissa is an ecologist and Indigenous scholar-activist. Formerly a professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University, she now teaches at Arizona State University in the School of Sustainability, Global Futures Laboratory. From 1993 to 2021, she served as the founding executive director and CEO of the Cultural Conservancy and continues to serve as president of their board. She is a contributor and co-editor of What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want To Be? (2021), Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Learning from Indigenous Practices for Environmental Sustainability published (2018), and Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future (2008). She is Anishinaabe/Métis/Norwegian and a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.