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American Indian Institute

View Activities

Areas of expertise & Fields of activity:

Economic and Social:
  • Culture
  • Geographic scope: International
    Mission statement:
    Organizational structure: In August 1977 at the Headwaters of the Missouri River, the Crow Nation hosted a gathering of approximately 35 Indian spiritual leaders. They had traveled to the gathering from the four directions. They worked together to forge the Two-Circle relationship between the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth and the American Indian Institute. Based on ancient Native American understandings, the two Circles were described as equal yet separate, fulfilling their common purpose by using common sense and behaving with mutual respect, and responsibility. The Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth is composed of grassroots spiritual leaders from Indian nations throughout North America. Structured in the ancestral way, the Circle is open to all traditional Indian people. It serves as a living repository of indigenous wisdom and values. Its focus is exclusively on perpetuating traditional cultural and spiritual values. In accord with ancient ways, the Traditional Circle discusses indigenous issues in terms of traditional values, and comes to consensus. In certain cases, the Circle looks to the American Indian Institute to help find ways to implement possible solutions. In all cases, the Institute seeks to provide financial and administrative support whenever requested by the Circle. The American Indian Institute is a non-Indian Circle that provides administrative, fund development and program support to advance the work and vision of the Traditional Circle. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Institute is structured as a typical American charitable organization. Headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, it is a small organization with a worldwide mission. It is community-based not in a geographic community, but in a community of interest — non-Indians dedicated to the survival of indigenous heritages and to the support of the traditional people through whom that survival will be achieved. With the guidance of the Traditional Circle, the Institute established a unique intergenerational program, Healing the Future, for Indian youth and families. The program combines traditional healing and ceremonial experiences with intervention and counseling activities to build on the strengths of Native communities to care for one another and the Earth. The Institute helped organize and fund a delegation of indigenous people of North America to attend a Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders in London, Moscow and Kyoto. In 1993, another indigenous delegation went to the Global Forum held in Kyoto, Japan. With the support of the Institute, representatives of the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth formed a delegation to the Fourth World Wilderness Conference in Denver in 1987 and participated in the international Environmental Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. To increase intercultural awareness and appreciation, the Institute helped organize a tour of Japan in 1988 and 1989 with a festival of native North American arts, including Indian dance and visual arts. The Institute serves as the fiscal agent for the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team. The Institute serves as the clearinghouse of first choice for programs and projects that affect traditional Indian people.
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