Mona Polacca

Senior Fellow, Original Caretakers

Mona Polacca is an educator and facilitator whose knowledge, empathy and values motivate others to speak and act. She has a special interest in older people and youth, and has led or participated in many effective initiatives related to Indigenous water issues and culturally appropriate health treatments for Native Americans.

Mona has held posts of responsibility within her own community, such as Treasurer for her tribe (the Colorado River Indian Tribes). She earned a masters in social work and has over twenty years of practical experience working, presenting and publishing on health and social issues affecting Native American peoples. She is the founder, President/CEO and faculty member of the Turtle Island Project, a non-profit program dedicated to promoting a vision of wellness and providing trans-cultural training to individuals, families, and healthcare professionals, and she is an active member of the Healing the Border Project of the Indigenous Alliance Without Borders. Mona is a founding member of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, which is an alliance of Indigenous women from around the world who are upholding, preserving and protecting Indigenous practices and ceremonies, including the right to use the earth-based medicines.  

Mona is a longtime active participant in the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples Issues and has been invited to speak in global forums and assist in drafting declarations. In December 2008, Mona had the distinguished honor of being the representative of the Indigenous Peoples on a panel of world religious leaders. These panelists drafted and signed a statement, “Faith in Human Rights,” in commemoration of the 60th Year of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In May 2013, she and others presented an intervention at the UNPFII, “A Call for the Indigenous World Forum on Water & Peace.” Her efforts have included providing support to First Nations to build capacity to take action on climate change, build sustainable communities, protect lands and waters, and  conserve biodiversity. 

Mona is motivated by her belief that climate and our future and sustainability are not just admirable goals for peoples all over the globe, but rather objectives that are attainable through dialogue among today’s leaders of spirituality and science. Her spiritual practice is grounded in the Havasupai, Hopi and Tewa Original Instructions and the Native American Church. 

From the Blog

This is a Good Day – A Message for Summer Solstice

“This is a good day,” says Mona Polacca. “This is a good day to come together.” In this blessing recorded to mark the summer solstice, Polacca, a senior fellow at the Center for Earth Ethics, reminds us of “the many blessings that the summer season brings to us.” “We are… Read more

A World Water Day Message from Mona Polacca

          Taking time out today to acknowledge this divine creation. Water. Where is your water? What is happening to your water? Who is making decisions about your water? Where is the water that you come from? What is your identity in relationship with your water?  … Read more

Restoring Brigid, Restoring Justice

Originally Published as “A Time of Justice, A Season of Renewal” on Jan 28, 2021 before Brigid’s Day Feb 1st by Shannon Michaela Doree Smith.  Updated March 8th.  This piece is re-published on International Women’s Day 2021 with gratitude to President Joseph R. Biden for his Proclamation on Irish-American Heritage… Read more

Climate Underground – Interview with Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman hosted by CEE Director, Karenna Gore

About Sean Sherman is one half of the founding duo that is The Sioux Chef behind Indigenous Food Lab in Minneapolis, MN. Indigenous Food Lab is an education and training center that will serve as the heart of NATIFS’ work establishing a new Indigenous food system that reintegrates native foods… Read more