Fourth World Peoples Globally

What We Do

Elaborating Policy

International Law

The Center for World Indigenous Studies has long advocated that the world's nations must resume direct and active role as the source of international rules of conduct. Over the last two hundred years, states' governments have slowly taken the primary responsibility for formulating and instituting international law. During the same time, nations were pushed to the side. In 1994, with CWIS playing the leading role as the agency responsible for drafting the document, the world's nations formulated the first modern international law called the International Covenant on the Rights of Indigenous Nations. This law is currently under consideration for ratification by nations around the world.


Under the leadership of Dr. Leslie Korn, the Traditional Medicine Project seeks to increase understanding of the role women and traditional medicine play in the strengthening, stabilization and nurturing of human society. The Working Group elaborates policy recommendations in support of this goal to national, state and international decision making bodies.

Public Deliberations

The World Congress on Violence and Human Coexistence convened at University College Dublin in Ireland 17 - 21 August 1997 under the sponsorship of the International Association for Scientific Exchange on Violence and Human Coexistence (ASEVICO) in collaboration with the Center for World Indigenous Studies. This important Congress will provide an interdisciplinary, multicultural forum for expression, research, exchange, and problem-solving on the conditions required for the fullness of human coexistence and a deeper understanding of the eruptions of violence in human life and history. The Politics of Land and Bigotry conference was convened by CWIS on March 8, 1996 in Seattle, USA. This conference joined public policy activists and representatives of Indian nations in a dialogue about the portentous movements in America intent on promoting interracial discord, extremist claims on lands and natural resources, and a growing politics of fear. Conferees formulated proposals for constructive land and environmental policies promoting a balance between human need and nature's ability to replenish. A second session of the Conference is proposed to convene in late 1996.

Four Programs that Help Achieve the Purpose of CWIS

Forum for Global Exchange

The Forum for Global Exchange (FGE) applies knowledge acquired from the experiences of indigenous people to nations' social, economic, political and strategic circumstances and the promotion of human rights. Through this Program we encourage exchanges directly between nations. Similarly we promote exchanges through symposia, conferences and working groups. The Forum for Global Exchange also provides opportunities for direct technical, diplomatic, conflict resolution and programmatic assistance at the request of nations' governments, non-governmental organizations and informal groups. The Chief George Manuel Chair for Fourth World Politics (currently occupied by Rosalee Tisya, former Director of Research of the Royal Commission on Self-Government in Canada.), the Joe Tallakson Chair for Public Policy, the Bernard Q. Nietschmann Chair for Fourth World Geography and the Senior Fellow for Holistic Environmental Management and other appointed Fellows actively engage Fourth World peoples as well as states' peoples in dialogue and action to transform a world of division into a world of collaboration, cooperation and common consent. The Forum for Global Exchange is physically operated out of CWIS offices in Olympia, Washington USA.

Education Programs

The Center conducts an extensive education program that offers professional and faculty development seminars, a Certificate Program and a BA and MA Degree Program in Healing Arts and Sciences, Fourth World Studies, Traumatic Stress Studies and Environmental Studies. The education program offers courses through the Center for Traditional Medicine and the Fourth World Institute operated by CWIS. Dr. Leslie Korn is the Director of Education an Clinical Director of the Center for Traditional Medicine. "Traditional medicine is a philosophical approach that encompasses healing methods that have been passed down manually, orally and in written form, which find their roots in the relationship of humans with nature, with the local environment," explained Dr. Korn. "In traditional medicine, community is central, and the community extends into the environment.

Fourth World Papers Program

The Fourth World Papers Program emphasizes the publication (digitally and in hardcopy) documents and publications of importance to the Fourth World and general public from the Fourth World perspective. DayKeeper Press is the CWIS publishing agency, which produces the digital as well as hardcopy publications. Publications include Occasional Papers Series, Fourth World Journal, Fourth World Eye, and full-length books produced by our in-house publisher DayKeeper Press. Major emphasis is placed in support of the BioCultural Security Directorate. Particular focus is placed on developing and disseminating information about the debate and consequences of laws and international actions concerning biodiversity, intellectual property rights, traditional knowledge, globalization, tourism, commodification of natural foods and medicines and the role different players impact. Another major emphasis is on remedies to Genocide against Fourth World nations. Digital publications are being duplicated and made available to tribal schools, communities, governments, libraries and activist groups to increase local dialogue about the support given to tribal governments to undertake self-directed participation in the protection of BioCultural Diversity. Fourth World Papers program also facilitated the publication of original essays and documents from the various international and regional forums in digital form on the CWIS WEB site in the Forum for Global Exchange Page, BioCultural Security Directorate Page and the Chief George Manuel Memorial Library as well as in the monthly digital column, "Fourth World Eye." The Fourth World Papers program is also responsible for translating documents and materials from the English to the Spanish or from the Spanish to the English. Numerous documents concerning BioCultural Security otherwise not available to users of the CWIS WEB site due to language barriers are now available either on-line or in the Chief George Manuel Memorial Library in Olympia, USA with a collection of more than 65,000 volumes, reports and documents.

Fourth World Documentation Program

Through the Documentation Program the Center for World Indigenous Studies operates the most extensive archival collection of documents and official publications at its World Wide WEB site on the internet. The "Papers Program" offers a growing selection of original publications published by the Center for World Indigenous Studies as well as documents and reports. The CWIS WEB page also increasingly serves as the contact point for serious scholars, activists and students enrolling in CWIS Education Programs, collaborating on research or conducting research in the Chief George Manuel Memorial Library - one of the first on-line libraries designed especially for the World Wide WEB. CWISreceives documents, publications and undocumented information from throughout the world. These materials are carefully archived. Organizations, governments, and individuals frequently ask CWIS to provide information from Fourth World Nations or about nations. We gather and store information and make it available. We also promote direct exchanges of information through people exchanges, encouraging direct visits between people in their territories, through workshops, symposia, conferences and our internationally accessible computerized Chief George Manuel Library on the World Wide Web accessed through the Internet. The Center also conducts research in support of efforts to advance indigenous people's knowledge and find constructive and cooperative approaches to conflicts between indigenous nations and between nations and states. The Center serves as a policy analysis, education and research clearinghouse of ideas between nations and between nations and states governments. Click here to be directed to our current Research Projects.


The Center for World Indigenous Studies offers certificates through the Center for Traditional Medicine and the Fourth World Institute - under our Education Program. Certificate programs are designed for highly motivated individuals who want to focus their education under the tutelage of scholar-practitioners in the fields of inquiry. Indigenous and non-indigenous participants from around the world enroll in the Certificate Program to work closely with an expert in their field(s) of interest to further their educational and career objectives. Read more here...

Documentation and Publications

The Fourth World Documentation Project (FWDP) was organized by CWIS in 1992 under the direction of John H. Burrows. Its mission includes documenting and making available to tribal governments, researchers and organizations, important documents relating to the social, political, strategic, economic and human rights situations being faced by Fourth World nations. The Documentation Project includes the Chief George Manuel Library, a historical archive of the political struggles waged by indigenous peoples reclaiming their rights as sovereign nations. As one of the first documents archives on the Internet's World Wide Web, the Chief George Manuel Library contains full text documents from nations in the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia, Melanesia and the Pacific. The Library is an award winning resource vital to the needs of tribal officials, researchers, academics, activists or any one interested in the status of the world's original nations. Fourth World Bookstore: In the Spring of 1996 CWIS opened the on-line Fourth World Bookstore available to users of the Internet's World Wide Web. CWIS publications, videos, audio tapes, and calendars are available for purchase directly. On-line publications like the Fourth World Journal and eventually Occasional Papers are also featured for subscribers. Fourth World Journal: The first on-line blog (World Wide Web) dedicated to the advancement of ideas and knowledge from the perspective of indigenous peoples -- the world's more than six thousand nations. This is the bi-annual publication of the Center for World Indigenous Studies. Daykeeper Press: Books, and Occasional Papers written by activists, scholars and cultural leaders from the Fourth World perspective. Multi-Media offerings for the Internet and users of compact disks are also featured.
When you know your own culture you enrich the world.