I first met Joe DelaCruz and Rudy Ryser in 1996 at a conference the Center for World Indigenous Studies hosted for research activists fighting Wise Use. Rudy, I later found out, was, at the time, also on the board of the Center for Democratic Renewal, then run by Loretta Ross.
Rudy’s mentors included George Manuel, who, from the 1950s through the 1980s, was the spark that generated global communication and coordination amongst indigenous peoples emerging from colonialism. Through their formation of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, he and Rudy laid the groundwork for indigenous fora and working groups within the UN, as well as parallel organizations like the United League of Indigenous Nations and Coast Salish Gathering. CWIS today is considered the premier indigenous think tank and archival repository serving the Fourth World.
In December 2005, they invited me to join as an associate scholar, and in February 2006 my essay The Power of Moral Sanction was featured in their Forum for Global Exchange. In September 2006 my paper Institutional Memory as Community Safeguard was published in their peer-reviewed Fourth World Journal. In January 2007 they asked me to serve as moderator for their private online forum, and in August 2007, I was asked to contribute a weekly column to Fourth World Eye, their online daily journal of insight and commentary on world affairs.