Themes for our work


This painting illustrates the themes for our work and was developed by Don Lyons and John Hunter as an international grass roots Indigenous vision for collaboration and solidarity. It represents symbols from both Australian Aboriginal and Anishanaabe – Native American culture.

Colonisation has burnt the core of traditional society and left a charred landscape, a contemporary capitalistic world where people are pressured to assimilate or integrate into the ways that are foreign to Indigenous value systems. The wavy lines connected to the central circle in the four colours represent travelling lines and the good path, walked from the four directions by the people. The seedlings or saplings represent the growth, the green shoots of life that sprout from the fire, growing against adversity, reaching for the light as the Great Creator has directed. The flowers represent the spring and the fruit that will come when the winds pass through the trees that grow from the fire.

The Butterfly – Anishinabe way of life is always changing, yet it remains true to its original path, much like the butterfly. The butterfly symbolizes the beauty and ability to change with the times, just like the Anishinabe way of life.

The Jingle Dress – The jingle dress is healing. The jingle dress symbolizes our ability to heal using our traditional knowledge, and reminds us we have the power, within us to heal ourselves”.

The central circle – Represents a gathering of the first peoples. The gathering is a call to protect and heal homelands, and in doing so heal ourselves.

The Drum – The drum is the heartbeat of the people. The drum symbolizes the strong heart we must have to endure and continue to dance, sing, celebrate and pray.

The Pipe – The pipe is our message stick to the creator, to the great mystery that is all around us. The pipe symbolizes our direct correction to the creator and reminds us of way of life that was gifted to us.

Community – Communities are supported to engage social and economic issues. We work collaboratively identifying needs, key goals, a long term vision and an effective strategy for getting there. Through training, mentoring and partnerships we build local capability. Communities are supported for the long term via support networks, exchange programs and intergenerational projects which recognise the important role of both elders and youth in community wellbeing.

Culture – We recognise the dynamic and ever changing nature of culture. Yet traditional values and knowledge systems also play fundamental roles in ensuring community wellbeing and sustainable co-existence with the world around us. We support communities to revitalise and pass on traditions, yet also to innovate and adapt to a changing world. Importantly, we empower communities to be the agents of change for the benefit of future generations.

Environment – ‘Healthy country, healthy community – healthy community, healthy country’. Our approach to environmental management is holistic and recognises the importance of working at a systems scale with both human as well as biophysical systems. We are all connected. Future generations rely upon us to work together and make wise decisions. We support and facilitate effective governance, coordination and cooperation for on-ground change.

Healing and wellbeing – We promote a holistic focus to healing and wellbeing recognising the importance of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual dimensions. Our approach supports and empowers healing from within and recognises the interconnectedness of individuals, families, communities, nations, and whole ecosystems. The Foundation brings together an experienced and capable team of healers & peacebuilders with years of on-ground community experience.

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