Two Paths to One: Next Steps to Integrate an Indigenous Understanding into Environmental Work

Niizhoo-gwayakochigewin ((NEE-zhoo gwy-ah-ko-chi-gay-win)—an Ojibwe phrase which translates to “two ways of doing the right thing in the right way”—aims to bring about understanding and engagement of both Western scientific and Indigenous knowledge perspectives to help build positive relationships and create long-term, sustainable changes in the world. Attendees will begin to consider their own racial lens and how it integrates with their current work.  After personal reflection, one can then move to how your work can be expanded to begin to consider racial equity with a particular focus on Indigenous ways of knowing.

For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples have depended on a sustainable relationship with the environment. Indigenous knowledge can help provide perspectives and approaches to sustainability that have withstood global change and are based on a deep respect for Mother Earth and thousands of years of relationship with the land. As Earth’s climate continues to warm, global biodiversity continues to decrease, and soil and water quality continue to decline. Advantages can be gained by integrating different ways of thinking and knowing into cultural norms.


  • Awanookwe Kingbird-Bratvold, Assistant Professor of Indigenous Sustainability Studies – Bemidji State University
  • Erika Bailey-Johnson, Sustainability Director & Niizhoo-gwayakochigewin Director – Bemidji State University (co-moderator)
  • Henriët Hendriks, Director, Future Services Institute – Humphrey School of Public Affairs
  • Bill Droessler, Program Officer, Environmental Initiative (co-moderator)

This event is intended for environmental professionals and people looking to learn about and integrate an Indigenous way of thinking into their work. We will provide a safe space to introduce non-Native people to an Indigenous worldview, so they can begin to respectfully do the work necessary to increase racial equity and improve environmental quality in Minnesota and beyond.


$30 suggested donation »

What’s new this year?

We have heard from previous attendees that the absence of networking was missed. In response, we shifted our approach. Attendees will join and depart policy forums through and move through in a manner similar to walking around a room to meet new people or talk to a presenter. Attendees will join panelists and facilitators on Crowdcast from Crowdcast more closely mirrors a real-time event and is more interactive than Zoom.

Check out our virtual event tips prior to joining the policy forum for how to set up your free Crowdcast and accounts.