On June 22, 2019, the Sacred Fire Foundation presented Mr. Porter with the 2019 Wisdom Fellowship Award.
New York City, NY – Tom Porter (Sakokwenionkwas – “The One Who Wins”) Haudenosaunee Educator, Elder and Spiritual Leader, a member of the Bear Clan of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, received the Wisdom Fellowship Award for 2019 from the Sacred Fire Foundation.
The Wisdom Fellowship Award is presented annually to honor the work of an elder who has demonstrated lifelong achievement in bringing wisdom, leadership and learning to their people and community.
Mr. Porter was being formally recognized for his lifelong service and commitment to his community, located in the ancestral Mohawk Valley of New York State.
A champion for the revitalization of Indigenous languages and traditions, Mr. Porter has devoted his life to implementing programs that facilitate the understanding of Indigenous culture. He has been widely recognized and honored for his work.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Porter talked about the gratitude he felt in having been exposed to the wisdom, knowledge and traditions of the elders of his community as a young boy.
He also spoke of the difficulties of maintaining his people’s languages and traditions in the face of enforced schooling that sought to eradicate Indigenous beliefs, ceremonies and traditions.
Mr. Porter has devoted his life to the revitalization of Indigenous languages and traditions. He co-founded the Akwesasne Freedom School, an immersion school in which students learn in the Mohawk language. He also cofounded the White Roots of Peace, a group of Haudenosaunee who toured the country encouraging Indians to embrace their respective Native traditions.
Mr. Porter was honored to accept Sacred Fire Foundation’s 2019 Wisdom Fellowship Award on behalf of his people, acknowledging Indigenous people around the world who are keeping their traditions and languages alive for future generations.
The mission of Sacred Fire Foundation is to preserve and promote Indigenous wisdom as an important, crucial and much-needed voice in today’s world. We believe this wisdom holds the key to the future for all of us.