[Newsletter] December 2021

(December 1, 2021)

Realizing Indigenous Aspirations

2021 was fraught with challenges. 

We could either stagnate or innovate. We chose the latter and 2021 became a year of firsts.


Originally planned as an in-person statewide forum to be held in October 2020, A Meeting of Sacred Waters became a global gathering of Indigenous voices about the health and healing of our ancestral waters.  Convened in partnership with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona and Te Pou Tupua of the Whanganui River, more than 700 people registered, representing 104 Indigenous communities in the U.S., New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and other nations. 

Participant quotes:

“ Even though we are different, our indigenous peoples share similarities and water is one of those connectors of our lifeways.”

“I felt the connection that these tribes had made &
the mutual respect that was established for one another.”

“It was beautiful. It was very uplifting and makes me
hopeful for the future of our water.”

We greatly appreciate everyone who contributed to, and participated in, this unique event!  Plans to come together again in 2022 are already underway! 

 (Photo: Amanda R.J. Cheromiah 2020)

We initiated an international exchange pre-pandemic between Indigenous leaders in Arizona and Whanganui, New Zealand.  We documented the exchange to honor, explore and share our experiences with others. 

We never dreamed that such a story of healing could emerge.

Our first film was an American Indian Film Festival 2021 Selection. A short documentary film, From the Mountains to the Sea, highlights the meeting of Indigenous leaders from opposite sides of the world as they travel down the rapids of the sacred Awa Tupua – Whanganui River.  

We are seeking opportunities to partner with Indigenous communities to share the film and facilitate discussion.  Contact us!


A Canoe We Can All Be A Part Of

Through the generous donations from people like you, we had the means to build a canoe hull that we will convert into a sailing canoe.  Sailing outrigger canoes is a long-held tradition across Polynesia; however, its revival in Aotearoa (New Zealand) is in its infancy.  This is our first major step towards revitalizing and preserving the traditional practice of mātangirua – sailing and paddling at the same time.  Traditional canoe practices promote wellness by affirming our cultural identity, community connection and our relationship with the natural environment.

Restoring Balance for Health and Sustainability

Indigenous identities and knowledge systems are intricately woven within and across our ancestral lands and waters, the source of our cultural, physical and spiritual sustenance.  Systemic and institutional barriers severely limit Indigenous Peoples’ ability to sustain and transmit traditional knowledge and practices in their daily lives.  This year, Red Star convened an Indigenous advisory council to explore the potential role of a global, multi-sector Indigenous collaborative to advance Indigenous-led systems change for the health of humanity and the environment.


Jump In Our Canoe and Have a Positive Impact!

With your support, Red Star serves the community by providing programs that:

Promote traditional knowledge and intergenerational sharing.

Build youth and community leadership and resilience.

Increase understanding of, and a sense of responsibility for, the natural environment.

Strengthen cultural identity and connection.

Build confidence, skill and safety on the water.


While grants and contracts fund specific projects, it’s generous donors like you that play a vital role in making this work happen!

We wish you, your families and communities a safe and blessed holiday season!