In the present era of networks and netwars, think tanks like the Center for World Indigenous Studies function much like tribal protector societies, only on a global scale. Guarding against toxic ideas that can lead humanity astray, associations of scholars affiliated with these intellectual repositories and networks of activists relying on these learning centers serve to inoculate societies against panic and despair.
Without the foundational knowledge and ancient understanding mediated by such independent research organizations, communities worldwide are at the mercy of the relentless onslaught of destructive concepts deployed by anti-democratic markets and institutions.
The Center for World Indigenous Studies was founded in 1984 by Dr. Rudolph C. Ryser and Chief George Manuel as an independent research and education organization. It began earlier as an unincorporated research and documentation clearing house in 1979 in response to calls by the Conference of Tribal Governments in the United States.
George Manuel, former chief of the National Indian Brotherhood/Assembly of First Nations in Canada, was first to initiate global communication amongst indigenous peoples emerging from colonialism. Through their formation of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, he and Dr. Ryser laid the groundwork for indigenous fora and working groups within the UN.
Joe DelaCruz, chair of public policy at CWIS and former president of the National Congress of American Indians, was once called the greatest American Indian leader of the twentieth century.
CWIS today is considered the premier indigenous think tank and archival repository serving the Fourth World.