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photo credits: Lukas Beck

                      Beth Beloff

Colin Finlay



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Beyond The Divide

Native American and Indigenous Performers Join with International Musicians
Offering Perspectives on Protecting the Earth for Future Generations

The mission of Beyond the Divide (BtD) is to incite sustainability – to raise awareness of the increasingly devastating effects worldwide of climate change, and to inspire an active effort for coordinated global mitigation and adaptation strategies. In particular, BtD seeks to generate support for the “canaries in the mine,” the Indigenous communities who are largely dependent on their ecosystems for subsistence, economic livelihood, and for the very survival of their age-old cultures.

To accomplish the mission, BtD is creating an innovative stage production and documentary film. These will serve as a vehicle for international Indigenous musicians, storytellers and wisdom keepers to collaborate with renowned commissioned composers to create new music and images that reflect a vision of sustainability for future generations. The productions will highlight the efforts of selected indigenous communities to protect their bioregions and cultures. Each year, funds generated from the project will benefit indigenous groups from bioregions around the world whose projects to protect ecosystems and culture are significant models. BtD will premiere in 2012, possibly at the Earth Summit – Rio+20.

Regardless of where in the world they live or the traditions they follow, Indigenous peoples have a commonality of worldview, beliefs and values that honor our connectedness to all of Nature. With current and future generations in mind, they recognize that their health depends on the Earth’s health.

Many of these place-based, natural resource-dependent cultures are already experiencing the effects of environmental degradation, including from climate change. While indigenous people may be the unwilling “canaries in the mine,” all of us will experience the increasingly severe effects – human induced or not – unless we change.

Ironically, these endangered Indigenous cultures are potential agents of solutions, leadership, climactic wisdom and untapped contributions to address the contemporary global climate change crisis. Inspired by traditional teachings, Indigenous leaders promote concepts that are locally controlled, decentralized, bioregionally appropriate and socially just.

Respected Native American and indigenous advisors have been offering support and ideas for the creation of BtD since the project’s inception. An Advisory Council composed of indigenous leaders and performance professionals, as well as individuals from nonprofit organizations and corporate sponsors, is being created to help guide BtD’s development, as well as the selection of indigenous projects that will directly benefit from BtD’s efforts. Students from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) will be contributing to the development of the production. Production personnel will include members of the Native communities represented.

To maximize BtD’s impact, partner organizations will facilitate forums and workshops held in conjunction with the events to generate ideas, leadership, educational materials and support for ecological mitigation, adaptation and cultural preservation initiatives. The following nonprofit organizations have committed to partner with Beyond the Divide: Americans for Indian Opportunity, The Cultural Conservancy, Futures for Children, Playing for Change, IAIA, The New Mexico Community Foundation, The Santa Fe Concert Association.

Beyond the Divide is a project of Bridges to Sustainability Institute (BRIDGES), a 501(c)3 organization. Funding is being sought from private, foundation and corporate sources.

Join Us!

Your support and collaboration is vital to the success of Beyond the Divide. You can be involved in a number of ways:

  • Support Us: Your Tax Deductible Contribution will ensure that this project has the maximum effectiveness.  To find out how to contribute please contact Beth Beloff >>

  • Collaborate With Us: If you are an Indigenous Storyteller, Wisdom Keeper or Artist we would love to hear from you >>.

To read more about the project click here >>

See full project description here (click to view / right-click to download)

View online brochure here 

Read Letters of Support

Watch the Video Trailer >>