Sherri Mitchell (Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset)
Indigenous rights activist, lawyer and spiritual teacher
Indigenous Knowledge & Western Science: Collaboration, Relationship, and Climate Solutions
Sherri was born and raised on the Penobscot Indian reservation (Penawahpskek). She speaks and teaches around the world on issues of Indigenous rights, environmental justice, and spiritual change. Her broad base of knowledge allows her to synthesize many subjects into a cohesive whole, weaving together a multitude of complex issues and articulating them in a way that both satisfies the mind and heals the heart.
Sherri received her Juris Doctorate and a certificate in Indigenous People’s Law and Policy from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. She is an alumna of the American Indian Ambassador program, and the Udall Native American Congressional Internship program.
Sherri is the Founding Director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the global protection of Indigenous land and water rights and the preservation of the Indigenous way of life. Prior to forming the Land Peace Foundation, Sherri served as a law clerk to the Solicitor of the United States Department of Interior; as an Associate with Fredericks, Peebles and Morgan Law Firm; as a civil rights educator for the Maine Attorney General’s Office, and; as the Staff Attorney for the Native American Unit of Pine Tree Legal.
She has been actively involved with Indigenous rights and environmental justice work for more than 25 years. In 2010, she received the Mahoney Dunn International Human Rights and Humanitarian Award, for research into Human Rights violations against Indigenous Peoples. In 2015, she received the Spirit of Maine Award, for commitment and excellence in the field of International Human Rights. In 2016, Sherri’s portrait was added to the esteemed portrait series, Americans Who Tell the Truth, by artist Robert Shetterly. And, she is the recipient of the 2017 Hands of Hope Award from the Peace and Justice Center.
Sherri has been deeply committed to cultivating and renewing the traditional and ceremonial practices of her people. She has worked in many capacities over the past 30 years helping to highlight and advance the position of Wabanaki peoples. In addition to helping her own people, Sherri has been a longtime advisor to the American Indian Institute’s Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth and was a program coordinator for their Healing the Future Program. She also served as an advisor to the Indigenous Elders and Medicine People’s Council of North and South America for the past 20 years. In this role, she has worked with Indigenous spiritual leaders from across the Americas, helping to ensure that their voices are heard within the larger society. This has included bringing their messages to political leaders in the U.S., and Canada and the Indigenous Peoples Forum at the United Nations.
Sherri is the visionary behind “Healing the Wounds of Turtle Island,” a global healing ceremony that has brought people together from all corners of the world. The ceremony is designed to heal our relationships with one another as human beings, and then to heal the relationship between human beings and the rest of Creation. It has been attended by people from every continent (except Antarctica), who have come together to pray with one heart and one mind for the healing of all life on Mother Earth.