The Village 2015: Home is where our Stories live...
The Village is a culture experiment born from the shared aspiration to explore what village life means and how to bring that into a contemporary context. Our intention is to learn by doing, to be engaged with how to actually create and sustain a Village.
This project is an interactive, intergenerational, education-based environment focused on earth based wisdom traditions and the skills necessary to be a sustainable, thriving, interdependent community. There is a focus on honoring the elements and cycles of the natural world, on identifying and refining our individual and collective offerings and remembering a life that integrates the sacred and the creative into everyday. Whole system organic design is at the heart of the Village structure. The unique gifts of everyone present are nurtured and cultivated, creating an environment where, like a traditional Village, every single person has an integral and valued role to play.
The Village consists of multiple micro-environments, including the Sacred Fire, Ancestral Arts Arbor and Community Lodge. Within these spaces, participants will have the opportunity to experience many aspects of this way of being, such as wisdom transmissions, song and story sharing, ceremony, and practical applications of earth based concepts. We will be providing varied forms of ancestral arts classes such as carving, fire making and weaving, as well as councils and presentations of traditional stories and prophecies with Indigenous Elders and lineage holders. The Village will function both as a site for learning to occur and as a hub for the promotion and networking of other organizations and projects that are aligned with our mission.
When we begin shifting our core life question from “What do I truly want?” to “What do I truly have to offer?” then, as a community, we begin to evaluate wealth based on the whole system rather than the individual parts. The Village intends not only to begin shifting our collective awareness in that direction, but also to provide tangible guidance for how to recognize and develop these offerings in a way that benefits both our personal evolution and our ability to be of real service to the larger whole.
A Note on Spiritual Practice…
In pretty much every corner of the Earth, our own ancestors faced oppression against spiritual knowledge, as our tribal communities and the earth worshipping traditions assimilated to the dominant cultural. Many came to America to escape religious oppression. We are all indigenous to the Earth.
However, some of us have more privileges: race, class, gender, sexual orientation, being able-bodied, etc. These privileges affect peoples’ access to power & resources that affect our livelihoods. Before thinking that America is a melting pot, visualize a tossed salad of heritage and tradition. We need to come together. But before we can just do that, we’ve got some work to do.
We do not need to take on the earth-based spirituality of Native peoples to fulfill our feeling of cultural & spiritual lack. A growing number of us are looking to our own roots and inside ourselves to recover and remember the ancient earth-based knowledge and spiritual wisdom of each of our ancestors. Now can mark a beginning journey of consciously deepening our understanding and honoring our ancestors traditions.
Taking off the headdress is about respecting the realities faced by Native Peoples today.
Native peoples are still here, fighting for basic human & religious rights, and for respect. But because the majority of society learns about Native cultures in textbooks, cartoons, and movies, the realities they face and even their existence remains invisible. At Halloween, “Indian costumes” are sold alongside Spiderman, mermaids, and fictional characters. Many of us grew up playing cowboys and indians or watching sports that have indian mascots. These experiences support the entitlement of non-native people to reenact our storybook versions of exotic, romanticized stereotypes (noble savage, warriors, pristine environmentalists, shamans or magic indians). It is a kind of American Indian image painted by white oppressors. So sporting that headdress means being a walking representative of 500+ years of colonialism and racism, perpetuating stereotypes that native people have been fighting against for just as long.