Phil Lane Jr. is an enrolled member of the Yankton Dakota and Chickasaw First Nations and is an internationally recognized leader in human and community development. He was born at the Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kansas in 1944, where his mother and father met and attended school.
During the past 45 years, he has worked with Indigenous peoples in North, Central and South America, Micronesia, South East Asia, India, Hawaii and Africa. He served 16 years as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada (1980-1996). With Elder’s from across North America Phil co-founded the Four Worlds International Institute (FWII) in 1982. FWII became an independent Institute in 1995. As well, Phil is a Director of the Four Directions Corporation, an Indigenous owned company, incorporated in 1996’ as Four World’s economic development arm.
With Phil’s guidance and applied experience, FWII has become an internationally recognized leader in human, community and organizational development because of the Institute’s unique focus on the importance of culture and spirituality in all elements of development. Four Directions’ is the Institute’s economic development arm. It is dedicated to the development of sustainable economic enterprises that support holistic, political, social, cultural, environmental, and educational development.
In 1977, Phil was named a Modern Indian Sports Great by the National Indian Magazine, Wassaja, for his record-breaking accomplishments in Track and Wrestling. He has extensive experience in his own cultural traditions, is an award winning author and film producer and holds Master’s Degrees in Education and Public Administration. His film credits include the National Public Television series “Images of Indians” with the late Will Sampson, “Walking With Grandfather”, “The Honor of All: The Story of Alkali Lake” and “Healing the Hurts” and “Shift of the Ages (SOTA)” released in December, 2012. In January, 2013 SOTA won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the World Interfaith Harmony Film Festival, in April, 2013 SOTA won the Audience Choice for Best Documentary at the Riverside International Film Festival and was the Official Selection at the Sedona International Film Festival in February, 2013 and the Black Hills International Film Festival in May, 2013.
In August, 1992, Phil was the first Indigenous person to win the prestigious Windstar Award, presented annually by the late John Denver and the Windstar Foundation to a global citizen whose personal and professional life exemplifies commitment to a global perspective, operates with awareness of the spiritual dimension of human existence and demonstrates concrete actions of the benefit for humans and all living systems of the Earth. At this International event, in recognition of his lineage and long time service to Indigenous peoples and the human family, Indigenous Elders from across North America recognized Phil as a Hereditary Chief through a Traditional Headdress Ceremony.
On November 11, 2000, Phil received the Year 2000 award from the Foundation for Freedom and Human Rights in Berne, Switzerland. Phil is the first North or South American person to receive the award. This award was given in recognition of Phil’s “unique contributions to improve the lives and future hopes of Indigenous populations. It is primarily based on his most special merits of promoting freedom and justice for Indigenous Peoples by building human and spiritual capacity rather than opposing oppression directly and, as well, for his international visionary initiatives among Indigenous populations by healing the root causes of hopelessness and despair.”
Other winners of these prestigious awards include, Oceanologist Jacques-Yves Cousteau, David Brower, Yevgeni Velikhov, Vice President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and founder of Kenya’s Greenbelt Movement, Lester Brown, President of the World Watch Institute, the Dalai Lama of Tibet, Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali, former Secretary General of the United Nations, and British Lord Yehudi Menuhin, musician and philosopher.
On June 21, 2008, Phil was awarded the 14th Annual Ally Award by the Center for Healing Racism in Houston, Texas. The Ally Award is an annual award presented by the Houston-based Center for the Healing of Racism to honor the achievements of those who have worked hard to achieve harmony of all ethnic and cultural groups. Phil received the Ally Award for his national and international work in promoting freedom and justice for Indigenous Peoples by building human and spiritual capacity that focuses on healing the root causes of racism and oppression rather than focusing on conflict. Special emphasis on this award is for Lane’s dedicated work, for more than nineteen years, as one of the primary leaders in the resolution of Canada’s Residential School issue, which involved the sexual, physical, cultural, psychological, and emotional abuse of thousands of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.
This effort resulted in a $3.5 Billion settlement for Residential School survivors, a full public apology by the Prime Minister of Canada and all Political Party Leaders on the floor of the Canadian Parliament, the establishment of a $500 million Aboriginal Healing Foundation and a formal, five year, Truth and Reconciliation Commission that is currently holding public hearings across Canada on the impact of the Residential Schools on the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.
In 2008, Phil completed a three-year tenure as CEO of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (UIATF) in Seattle, Washington. The Foundation’s achievements include the launching of the first-ever Native American Film Festival, the development of a host of innovative education programs ranging from elementary and high school curriculum design and development, to adult education, early childhood education, and the recent launching of a $3.5 million holistic poverty-alleviation program model for urban Indigenous Peoples in Seattle.
Phil has now stepped into further global leadership as Chairman of the Four Worlds International Institute (FWII) and Four Directions International. The Institute’s central initiative since 2009 is the promotion of Deep Social Networks and The Digital Fourth Way. The focus of The Fourth Way is contributing to the unification of the Human Family by co-creating community-based, culturally-respectful, principal-centered strategies and programming that transcends assimilation, resignation, and conflict. This work uses digital communications technologies for local, regional and large scale change by collectively addressing related challenges such as the Alberta Tars Sands and other issues impacting the health and well-being of the Human Family, Mother Earth and the future of our younger generations.
Deep Social Networks (DSN) are principle-centered, collaboratively created and community-based digital networks with purpose for uplifting education, harmonious development, child protection, social and environmental justice, such as the Alberta Tar Sands and unifying Indigenous Peoples and marginalized, underserved communities in the Americas in harmony with the Reunion of the Condor and Eagle.
On June 9, 2013 the Four Worlds Foundation has been officially opened at the City of Knowledge located at the former Clayton Military Base in the Panama Canal Zone, Panama. The Four Worlds Foundation in Panama will be the International Training Center and Digital DSN Hub for actualizing the Reunion of the Condor and Eagle via the Fourth Way across the Americas and beyond!