Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. is an enrolled member of the Ihanktonwan Dakota and Chickasaw Nations and is an internationally recognized leader in human, community, and economic development. During the past 50 years, Chief Lane has worked with Indigenous Peoples across the Americas, 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 in Alberta, Canada.
In 1982, with Indigenous elders and spiritual leaders from across North America, Chief Lane founded the Four Worlds International Institute. FWII became an independent institute in 1995. With Chief Lane’s guidance and applied experience, FWII has become an internationally recognized leader in human, community, and economic development because of the Institute’s unique focus on the importance of culture and spirituality in all elements of development.
On August 15, 1992 in recognition of his hereditary lineage of leadership and longtime service to Indigenous Peoples and the Human Family, Indigenous Elders from across North America recognized Phil as a Hereditary Chief of the Hinhan Wicasa and Deloria Tiospayes of the Ihanktonwan Dakota, through a Traditional Headdress Ceremony.
Chief Lane has been the recipient of multiple awards and recognitions. He was the first Indigenous person to win the prestigious Windstar Award, presented annually on behalf of the late John Denver and the Windstar Foundation. In 2000, he received the Year 2000 Award for Freedom and Human Rights, given by the Swiss Foundation. Other winners of this award include Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, the Dalai Lama, Lord Yehdi Menuhin, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and Yevgeni Velikhov, Vice President, Soviet Academy of Sciences. In 2008, Chief Lane received the Ally Award, presented by the Center for Healing Racism. Particular emphasis for this award was for his dedicated work, for more than 19 years, as one of the key Indigenous leaders in the resolution of Canada's Residential School issue, which involved the sexual, physical, cultural, psychological, and emotional abuse of thousands of Aboriginal children in Canada. The process resulted in a more than $4 billion settlement for Residential School survivors.
Since 2008, Chief Lane has stepped into global leadership. He currently serves as a member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society Council of Elders. He also serves as faculty member of the Shift Network and host of Shift’s Global Indigenous Wisdom Summits, and is an honorary international advisor to the Help Foundation of the Beijing Women's and Children’s Development Foundation. He is chairman of Four Directions International, First Nations Solar, Compassion Games International, and is a founder and global trustee of the United Religions Initiative.