Our innovative collaborative Path Projects restore and celebrate valuable Indigenous knowledge systems and seed needed solutions based on harmony with the natural world through the following focused work within frontline communities.
+ Elders to Youth
For generations Indigenous knowledge has been carried and passed by Elders to Youth who seed these intergenerational teachings within their communities to ensure cultural survival. Indigenous Prophecies foretold that many people would abandon old teachings in the face of false choices based on extraction and materialism. As a result, the Elders who carried these teachings too often were also abandoned. This has left a tremendous gap, as they hold a tremendous responsibility with no one present to carry them forward. We witnessed this on our recent trip to the Lacandon jungle, as the last grandfather of this ancient Maya culture identified himself as the last lineage keeper. The years of extractive industry and colonization dramatically widen this gap between traditional knowledge keepers and youth. The temptations of something other than what the Elders are offering seems to often times create a greater divide. However, some youth are awakening to their ability to learn and with peeked open hearts and curiosity meeting them there is vital. How we learn and what we know both as children and adults shapes our life choices. We also recognize the gifts that youth are bringing into this world as new ideas and leadership form. People who have good health and wellbeing instate healthy communities which creates a ripple effect of caring for our environment. The ability to support healthy spaces for Elders and Youth to nourish and grow the seeds that have been given feels like one of the most essential focuses of our work.
+ Plants and Animals
There is an intricate relationship between plants, animals and humans. At a time of human caused greed based animal extinction and species depletion, we are working with Indigenous teachers who hold all life as sacred and will share these learnings to broaden the message of peace. It is documented that we are entering the 6th great extinction, with multiple species daily being lost for all time due to human-made conditions including climate change. Tallying the names and numbers of these declining and forfeited species is a Western way. Our Path Projects are seeded to share the importance of animal medicine and teachings. The Kogi People and other Indigenous Elders believe that animals are teachers. “Anima,” the root word of “animal” means breath, life, spirit, soul. Indigenous teachings share that animals with their varied colors, textures, sounds and lives contribute to human health. The health of animals is a strong indicator to the health of humanity. The health of animals is a strong indicator to human health. (It is simple really - the healthier the animals, the healthier humanity.) And just as with animals we have co-evolved with vast fields of plant life. Plants grow working many wonders that sustain many life forms. It is a vital part of our reciprocal relationship with nature. Food plants, medicinal plants, all hold a codex of culture an intricate weaving of traditional knowledge. It can be an entry point for learning with instant benefits and only through time does its depth become wisdom to transform people. The intention of these teachings has always been to see its flourishing for many generations to come. We see animals and plants as facilitators of learning.
+ Seeds of Knowledge
When we say “seeds of wisdom or knowledge,” what do we mean? Every ancient culture carries knowledge. The wisdom of nature. Though some understand that every ancient culture carries essentially the same wisdom people have been divided. As a result the knowledge has been divided and that is why it is perishing. It is an important time to acknowledge there is no hierarchy of wisdom. Every culture is part of the Earth. To be inclusive, that is the real task we face. For us to all feel well and to feel there is something in common. That is universal wisdom.
When we refer to seeds we are referring to the living ancestral and traditional knowledge of people. Traditional knowledge refers to a way of knowing, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities. It is a living experience through generations adapting to local environment. Traditional knowledge has been transmitted orally from generation to generation. This is the great loss being faced when an elder dies the imprint of treasured essential experience (library of living experiences) and interaction with the natural world of people throughout time can be lost. Again it would take generations to build again and of course could never be duplicated for just as life it is constantly changing. It is a unique expression that can only be passed through experience. “It tends to be collectively owned and takes the form of stories, songs, folklore, proverbs, cultural values, beliefs, rituals, community laws, local language, and agricultural practices, including the development of plant species and animal breeds.”
It is essential to protect and sustain Indigenous knowledge, wisdom and teachings for they contain original instructions of how to live in balance and harmony with the web of life. To regenerate the spirit and lives of those who hold these keys to unlocking the possibilities to learn, and for some to remember, is a tremendous honor. Within the hearts and minds of Indigenous Elders who carry these teachings creating the bridge they are asking for inspired youth to accept these seeds. It is more than a choice it is a responsibility. Whether we realize it or not it rests upon all of our shoulders. Acknowledging that "we are all related' (Mitakuyapi Oyasin) this teaching alone assures we walk this path together.
Indigena is partnering to give voice by gathering Elders and Youth in educational settings to protect and share Indigenous history, culture and knowledge systems essential to restore and regenerate vulnerable communities, ecosystems and wildlife. We are committed to healing decades of trauma and abuse to Indigenous peoples whose children were taken from their families and for whom systemic cultural extinction was deployed through government schools. Many Indigenous peoples and communities continue to be faced with distractive and harmful forces.
We purposefully support the rejuvenation of spirit and culture through community initiated and community led educational initiatives that become living legacies of compassion and healing for all.
If there is no continuum it does not exist.