Indigenous peoples who have intimate and sustained contact with their lands and waters and who have maintained the spiritual basis for relating to everything in their environment have a profound understanding of what "sustainability" really means even though that is not the word that they would use. Western concepts of sustainability generally are used out of meaningful context, limiting the depth to which we can go collectively and as a society in restoring harmony in our relationship with Mother Earth. Indigenous elders world-wide say that one day the world will look to indigenous peoples for the wisdom in caring for our Earth Mother, and many feel the time is NOW as her life supporting systems are being pushed to the edge of viability.
Ilarion Merculieff is a traditional Aleut messenger dedicated to sharing Indigenous elder wisdom and the messages of Indigenous spiritual leaders with the world. He has nearly four decades of experience serving his people, the Aleuts of the Pribilof Islands and other Indigenous Peoples, in a number of capacities, locally to internationally. Larry is a passionate advocate for Indigenous rights/wisdom, and harmonious relationship with the Earth.
Close to Merculieff's heart are issues related to cultural and community wellness, traditional ways of living, Elder wisdom, and the environment. Having had a traditional upbringing, Merculieff has been, and continues to be, a strong voice advocating the meaningful application of traditional knowledge and wisdom obtained from Elders in Alaska and throughout the world when dealing with modern day challenges. As the Coordinator for the Bering Sea Council of Elders, Merculieff works with some of the most revered Elders from seven regions throughout Alaska focusing on the health of the Bering Sea ecosystem and the viability and health of the coastal and river cultures dependent on it. Merculieff has shared Elder wisdom locally, nationally, and internationally, and his writings and interviews have appeared in such publications as the Winds of Change, YES, Red Ink, Alaska Geographic, Smithsonian, National Geographic, and Kindred Spirits. Larry Merculieff was featured in National Wildlife magazine as an "American Hero", having called national and international attention to industrialized overfishing and major adverse changes in the Bering Sea ecosystem.