Oct 29, 2018

Jaguar Sanctuary Gets Underway

Dear Donor,

 

Thank you for all that you do to help us bring Western and Indigenous knowledge systems together for the conservation of these beloved big cats. These cats, as we’ve indicated in previous communications, are important not only in their own right, but because our very survival depends on theirs! We are immensely grateful to you, to the ancestors, and to the spirit of the big cats.

 

WISN has worked closely with Jaguar Artist, Musician, and Indigenous Cultural Practioner (ICP) Ernesto Hernandez Olmos for many years. He conceived of and has begun plans for a jaguar sanctuary, within which the Ceremonial Center of Spirituality, Art, and Culture of Oaxaca will be housed. ICP Olmos will direct the center.

 

The center was created with the objective of preserving the ancestral traditions and practices of the Elders by focusing on the culture and spirituality of the Jaguar. The teachings and practices of spiritual ceremonies and rituals of healing, such as the Temazcal, plant medicine ceremonies and sound therapy (healing via the sound of ancestral instruments), will all be a part of the center which is currently under construction.

 

The aim is to promote education and awareness to the next generations and to bring awareness to the importance of protecting the jaguar and its habitat, which represents our mother earth. ICP Olmos, international spiritual healing arts practitioner and member of the WISN network, has worked for several years to build community and institutional connections to support the Jaguar of Light in Oaxaca, Mexico. He has been working with wisdom keepers, scientists and historians from three different continents with the goal of preserving the ancient historic connections of the sacred cats such as white lions of Timvabati, white leopards of Asia, white tigers of Russia and China, and Jaguars of the Americas. 


In 2015, he started developing the Central American Network of the union of scientists and shamans working together for the preservation the of spirituality of the jaguar and the conservation of its habitat and well being. WISN is supporting him in his efforts.

 

Please help us to help Indigenous Cultural Practitioners like Olmos who understand the importance of preservation of sacred cultures and connections to share the cosmovision that inspire humanity to return to balance. 

An example of ICP Olmos' artwork
An example of ICP Olmos' artwork
More examples of ICP Olmos' artwork
More examples of ICP Olmos' artwork
Jaguar of Light from Oaxaca
Jaguar of Light from Oaxaca
Oct 29, 2018

Fulfilling the Bushman Vision

Dear Donors,

 

Imagine you were told you must leave your home and your way of life. You are moved to lands that don’t even have basic necessities such as water, meaning you either have to buy bottled water, or walk up to a mile to retrieve water from a tank. The ways that you (and your ancestors) had successfully sustained yourselves and your families for tens of thousands of years was also stripped from you, and the land that you once used for cultivating (or hunting for) your own food was taken away and now used for tourist sites. The schools your children attended were shut down, and the only way for them to get an education is to either move away from you and live in the town where the school is located, or they must travel an hour and a half each way, every day. When you tried to stand up for yourself to create change with local officials or with the federal government for your family and community, you are silenced. It is hard to fathom, but that is exactly what has happened to the last remaining first people, the Bushmen.  

 

The first people carry unfathomable knowledge and wisdom of the stars and the earth systems well beyond anything Western science can conceive of. However, the Elders who carry the knowledge area dying at a rapid pace, meaning this knowledge goes with them unless it can be passed on to the next generations.

 

Last year, a Bushman Elder and Healer shared her vision for her community with us. She can see the road ahead for her people, and she has been working almost singlehandedly to carry the traditions forward with the youth. During this past year, she has been bringing youth to the Bushveld and ancestral lands to share their stories, and she’s been teaching the youth the sacred trance dances as well as some of the ancient healing modalities such as “smeer,” a form of Bushman massage. For the first time, the youth are responding, recently telling her and community leaders, that “they want to know more,” and that they want to know “who they are.” Inspired by this, this turn of events, this Healer requested our support to bring a group of youth to Namibia to meet with an intact community of Bushmen living deep in the Namibian Bushveld. The Bushmen in Namibia still practice the sacred trance dances, live off and on the land, and as a result, have been less consumed by some of the pitfalls of Western society and modernity.

 

I had the good fortune of traveling with the Bushmen from South Africa to this community in Namibia. Sitting under the stars of the immense African sky, we sat in a circle around a small fire. Supported by a group of old and young women chanting with the rhythmic beat of the wooden bars they clapped together, an Elder Medicine Man went deep into trance for nearly five hours. The shells adorning his back side clicked and swayed rhythmically as the energy of the earth, stars, and ancestors moved through his slight, muscular body. The South African youth were rivetd and inspired, and ready to bring what they learned back to their own community.

 

The village, which consists of about 10 round huts constructed of reeds, wood branches, and in some cases, pieces of plastic tarp, has no running water, plumbing, or electricity. Despite these “hardships,” the village Elder said that he intentionally moved his community this far out—to live on the land and connected with Mother Earth. I got just a very small taste of the hardships and immense beauty they experience on a daily basis.

 

The Elder Healers and the youth returned from this journey hugely inspired. They are now working on setting up a self initiated and managed foundation to bring back their own healing, power, and identity. We thank you again for your support and for helping us spread the word about this project and others.

Jul 31, 2018

Summer 2018: Bushman Renaissance, a Beginning

Lys standing in the doorway of her healing hut
Lys standing in the doorway of her healing hut

Dear Donors,

 

We are very grateful for the support we receive from you, which makes our work with the Khomani San Bushmen of the Kalahari possible.

 

The Khomani San Bushmen are faced with immense challenges that most of us in the Western world could never fathom. Forcibly moved off their ancestral lands onto lands with no water, their schools were closed down and two liquor stores opened up in the community often selling liquor for less than water. It was a recipe for disaster. Addictions, domestic abuse, and disease are rampant as they are in many indigenous communities around the world facing similar scenarios.

 

Healer and Elder Lys has lived through the decimation of her people, witnessing first hand the devastation caused by alcohol addiction. Armed with help from some members of her community, the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network, and her own guiding vision for how to heal and restore Bushman health, power and identity, Lys has constructed a “healing hut” and “kraal” (enclosure) through which she can begin to teach the Khomani San youth the ancient healing practices of their ancestors—“smeer,” an ancient Bushman healing massage technique, as well as the medicinal uses of many plants found in the Bushveld. She has also started to receive clients in the hut, which will help with the sustainability of Lys, her family, and members of her community. 

 

Part of her vision also includes bringing Khomani San youth to Namibia where the Bushman culture continues to live on their ancestral lands and has remained more intact. Seeing the possibilities of what can be and learning from Elders who have continued holding the traditions for generations will both education and empower the youth.  WISN program manager met with Lys and others in the community to discuss their plans and to create a strategy to make it happen.

 

Though we will continue to raise funds for the Mobile Addictions Treatment program, in the meantime, we will also conntinue to support the Bushmen—on their own terms—to empower and build their community from within.

 

We thank you again for your ongoing support and for helping us spread the word about this project and others.  

The newly finished healing hut
The newly finished healing hut
Lys inside the kraal sharing her vision
Lys inside the kraal sharing her vision
A woman's vision to empower her community. . . .
A woman's vision to empower her community. . . .
 
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