Heritage University hosts indigenous development symposium - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Heritage University hosts indigenous development symposium

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TOPPENISH, WA - Today, a symposium on indigenous development continues at Heritage University, which aims to explore the issues of access to resources among indigenous cultures.

Heritage and members of Yakama Nation are teaming up with the Ngabe-Bugle Nation of Panama to discuss solutions to outside pressures on native lands and management of natural resources.

The Ngabe-Bugle Nation has been struggling to preserve its culture, health, and prosperity and is seeking ways to maintain its sovereignty. 

"We're looking to have this exchange of ideas so that these different groups of people can come together to protect and have this land available for the next seven generations and beyond," says Jessica Black, the Director of the Center of Indigenous Health, Culture, and the Environment at Heritage.

Indigenous development experts from Canada, Ecuador, and Panama will present on initiatives for development and conservation and will open discussions for models of success.

"The Ngabe-Bugle of Panama...they're looking for different ways to be a sovereign nation, where Yakama Nation has also been successful in sovereignty," says Alden Andy, Student Tribal Liaison and Enactus President.

The Enactus Student Organization at Heritage is working to help Ngabe-Bugle families build sustainable income with improved methods of rice production, chicken farming, and traditional artwork production.

The symposium continues today from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the public is welcome to attend and share ideas.

Black and Andy say you can help make a difference for the Ngabe-Bugle Nation by becoming a project sponsor. To do so, you can go to heritage.edu/panama and click on "give now".