[Newsletter] December 2023

(December 26, 2023)

We are a small non-profit with global impact.

We are an Indigenous-led, U.S. based non-profit co-located in Tucson, Arizona and Tauranga, New Zealand.  Our community-centered mission to reflects our vision for healthy, vibrant Indigenous communities. 

Scroll down for 2023 highlights across our three interdependent focus areas.

Partnering with Communities to Overcome Social, Cultural and Systemic Barriers to Wellness

We believe the pathway to wellbeing is a journey of reclamation and resilience that includes reflecting on traditional lifeways to solve contemporary challenges. Red Star partnered with 15 Indigenous Nations representing just over 1 million citizens in the U.S., including Pacific Island Areas, to deliver capacity development training, technical assistance and support. 

Using Red Star’s Tribal Public Health Capacity Assessment Tool and Guide, communities identified performance strengths and gaps to prioritize areas for development to improve health outcomes.

Our work was cited by our partners in two publications this year:

How do we safeguard our rivers from continued harm?

The evidence is mounting. Indigenous knowledge systems are key to designing a sustainable future for all. In 2020, Red Star International, Inc. embarked on a journey for the healing of the Colorado River Basin through an Indigenous knowledge exchange with the Peoples of the Whanganui River in Aotearoa/New Zealand.  

We documented the exchange in an award winning short documentary: From the Mountains to the Sea.  Together, we created an educational guide to encourage deeper engagement and discussion in classrooms and communities about the learnings explored in the film.

In 2023, Indigenous leaders came together for A Meeting of Sacred Waters to share their experiences, and to dialogue about the value and importance of Indigenous knowledge in improving the health of all rivers. We were joined by nearly 200 people representing 44 tribes from across the Pacific.

Due to overwhelming requests, we are hosting another Meeting of Sacred Waters on March 12-13, 2024, at Isleta Resort and Casino (near Albuquerque), New Mexico.  Join us! We’ve doubled capacity and added a day!  We will continue the conversation as a global community in support of all ancestral waters, from source to sea.Your donation will provide registration waivers for community members and students who might not otherwise be able to attend due to financial or other hardship.

Meet Mārohirohi (pronounced Maa-ro-hi-ro-hi)

Mārohirohi is nearly ready to return to the water! Mārohirohi (meaning strong, brave, powerful and resolute) was built in the early 2000s and is the second of two canoes to be repurposed as dedicated sailing canoes.  Our work is in partnership with the remote Hicks Bay community under the leadership of prominent Ngāti Pourou educator, Campbell Dewes, and Te Whanau A Tuwhakairiora Canoe Club.

Through our project, Matangirua: Breathing Life into Our Sailing Heritage led by Frank Kawe (Ngāti Ranginui/Ngāti Kahungunu), we partnered with two communities to repurpose two underutilized waka ama (outrigger canoes) into waka tere (sailing outrigger canoes).  Our goal? To provide a pathway from paddling to sailing, while promoting traditional canoe practices and connection with the natural environment.

We Never Mentioned the Other Reason Canoe Traditions are Important

Canoe traditions affirm cultural identity, holistic wellness, and community connection. There’s another reason this work is important: Māori are overrepresented in water related injuries and fatalities in Aotearoa/New Zealand every year. Basic water safety knowledge and skills can make a difference! 

It is well documented that culturally and contextually relevant activities improve outcomes for Māori.  In 2023, we delivered 4 water safety workshops with traditional canoes in 4 communities around Aotearoa with Rehua Innovations.

Advancing Wellness

It’s at the heart of everything we do.

Make a Donation.

Growing community is like growing corn – it requires nurturing, cultivation, and abundant sharing for all to benefit. A gift to Red Star International helps us strengthen programs, develop resources and grow our global Indigenous collaborative for healthy and vibrant communities.

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