Jul 30, 2018

Summer 2018 Report: Networking in Mexico

Dear Donor,

 

Our mission is to save the apex cats from extinction and to ultimately save the earth’s ecosystems by bridging Indigenous and Western sciences to develop new, radical conservation methods.

 

Why It’s Critical now more than ever—Indigenous prophesies understood the critical times we are now experiencing. Habitat destruction, poaching, and destruction of native traditional values have brought the big cats to the brink of extinction. Without these culturally central, sacred animals, entire ecosystems will die.

 

Alone, neither science nor indigenous knowledge can stop the extinction of snow leopards, lions, tigers, and jaguars. Through the Global Alliance for Big Cat Conservation, we are working with Western science to find new ways of conservation.

 

In June, WISN partnered with a Mexican-based organization called Naturalia. The Mexican government is only doing so much. This organization, working with local communities in Northwestern Mexico, is purchasing and establishing private protected lands for Jaguar conservation. While they have the conservation expertise needed for such a project, WISN offers expertise in bridging the cultural, indigenous perspective with Western science in an effort to create new forms of conservation that aren’t only based in one realm.

 

Naturalia and a WISN representative also attended a conference in Mexico in June—the National Alliance for Jaguar Conservation hosted in Cozumel. While the majority of the attendees were from Mexico, others from Central and South America were also in attendance, all joined by a combined mission of wanting to create strategies for saving this endangered big cat, integral to their ecosystems as well as to the cultures who have been intrinsically involved with Jaguars for thousands of years.

 

We will be planning to meet with the conservationists of Naturalia within the next six months and our hope is that together, we can develop new ways and strategies of creating a corridor of protection for these beloved cats that extends from Brazil through Central America.

 

Donors, we give much heartfelt gratitude for your support for our ongoing conservation efforts and we will continue to keep you updated of our progress. Please consider sharing our work with friends, family and colleagues so that we can continue.

May 3, 2018

From Kyrgyzstan to Chauvet Caves

Courtesy of WISN Partner Snow Leopard Conservancy
Courtesy of WISN Partner Snow Leopard Conservancy

From Kyrgyzstan to Chauvet Cave—A Journey Leading to the Story of Us All

Snow Leopard Conservation

Global Big Cat Alliance

May 2018 Project Update

 

 

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, 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.

 

From a chance encounter with the pelt of a Snow Leopard in a tourist yurt in Kyrgyzstan to Chauvet Cave of Southern France a decade later… we retrace the steps of our ancestors through a video WISN produced this past quarter as part of our efforts to raise awareness of and bring critical resources to the Snow Leopard conservation efforts of our partners.

 

In 2008, Dr. Apela Colorado, Oneida and Gaul Elder and founder of the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network (WISN), had a profound chance encounter in a yurt in Kyrgyzstan. Entering this yurt, she saw the skin of an animal she did not recognize hanging on the wall. She immediately dropped to her knees and wept in front of what she later learned was the pelt of a sacred Snow Leopard.

 

Over the next decade, her research brought her in contact with numerous Kyrgyz Elders who shared some of the oral wisdom, which holds that the Snow Leopard clan people (the original European tribes) migrated West with Snow Leopards from Central Asia tens of thousands of years ago. It is the reason, they believe, that there are so few snow leopards remaining in Kyrgyzstan today.

 

While it is known in Western science that many European tribes descend from these Central Asian tribes, there was nothing in Western science to corroborate the movement of Snow Leopards as told by the Kyrgyz Elders. Until now.

 

We reported last year about a separate research trip to the Caves of Southern France during which a WISN team discovered that there was a painting of a Snow Leopard and that the remains of a (approximately) 35,000 year-old Snow Leopard were discovered in this cave, a cave which had been sealed off for at least 26,000 years. While remarkable in and of itself, the link to Kyrgz oral tradition was one that few people would be able to make. Dr. Colorado was able to make this connection. And in Fall 2017, we brought a Kyrgyz Elder to these caves to make an offering and prayer for the survival of his sacred totem animal (see Fall 2017 report), the endangered Snow Leopard. 

 

During this journey, we met with Jean Clottes, Ph.D., one of the foremost French experts on the Caves of Southern France. At the conclusion of this meeting, Zhaparkul Ata put his hand on Dr. Clottes heart saying,

 

 "We are brothers. You are science. I am shaman, In the future, we will work together." 

 

May it be so. 

 

We share the just released video with you, dear donors, with much heartfelt gratitude for all you have done to support our ongoing conservation efforts.

Links:

May 3, 2018

From Vision to Reality--Bushman Renaissance

Isak
Isak

From Vision to Reality—Bushman Renaissance

May 2018 Project Update

Submitted May 3, 2018

 

 

Dear Donors,

 

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

 

The Wisdom Weavers of the World conference on Hawaii (see January report) last quarter gave us an opportunity to meet with Khomani San Bushman Healer and Elder Lys to learn more about the current situation within her community. During our time together, we spoke with her about what her vision is for her people, especially the youth who are particularly vulnerable.

 

Because they were moved off their ancestral lands to lands with no water, no schools, etc. and because two liquor store owners were given permission to open stores in the midst of the community, selling booze for less than water in some cases, the problems of alcoholism, domestic violence, illness and more are escalating in the community. Lys and her husband provide a safe house to kids in the community who are in violent or abusive situations.


Lys’ vision is this: to bring the Khomani San youth out to their ancestral lands and to Bushmen lands in Namibia where the culture continues to live on their ancestral lands and has remained more intact. This will give the youth an opportunity to learn the trance dances of their ancestors and to see first hand what is possible through healing, through remembering. She also seeks to build a healing hut on their lands through which she will be able to teach the girls in the community the ancient practice of “smeer,” a healing massage of the Bushmen. Her husband Isak will also use the hut to show the male youth the medicinal plants used for healing, and both he and Lys will be able to receive international visitors in this hut.

 

WISN has provided Lys and her community with the funds to build this hut and the construction and clearing has begun. It should be completed in the next month or so. And though we will continue to raise funds for the Mobile Addictions Treatment program, in the meantime, we will support the Bushmen—on their own terms—to empower and build from within their community.

 

Thank you again for your support, dear Donors, and for helping us spread the word about this project and others.

clearing the space
clearing the space
More clearing of the space
More clearing of the space
The "kraal" space where the hut will be located
The "kraal" space where the hut will be located
Lys and Isak in the Kalahari
Lys and Isak in the Kalahari
 
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