Heart of the Earth

      Yakni i Chukash

We are slowly building Capital Funds to purchase Land for Yakni i Chukash, a place of power and ceremony that supports our work to advance Indigenous Knowledge. Please make your tax-deductible contribution here and help us bring the Land’s vision into being.

This is northwestern Nebraska. It’s a region of short-grass prairie habitat speckled with Ponderosa pines on the bluffs, the beautiful Sandhills fanning out to the southeast, with badlands and billowing prairies to the northwest as far as the Black Hills. Tapestry Institute partners with the Land of northwestern Nebraska to advance Indigenous Knowledge. It will be the site of Yakni i Chukash.

Yakni i Chukash means “Heart of the Earth” in Choctaw. (Click here to listen to the name said in Choctaw by Tapestry founder Dawn Hill Adams.) Yakni i Chukash is a place for Advancing Indigenous Knowledge: a physical Place collaborating with and through a pan-Indigenous group of people working together to serve, empower, and facilitate Indigenous Knowledge.

Yakni i Chukash will be comprised of an actual, physical Land partner, which includes a geographic Place and the animals, plants, stones, waters, and everything else that are part of that Place. Because we are on the northern Great Plains, this means buffalo should be present, since those beings are an essential part of this Land. For the same reason, eagles, coyotes, mountain lion, deer, elk, pocket gophers, porcupines, meadowlarks, hawks, bull snakes, and other animals — as well as pine trees, grama grasses, wild sunflowers, and the microscopic organisms populating the soil among and within the roots of these plants — will be important members of the Land partner, either there to begin with or, as the land regenerates its health, returning if they’ve been absent for a time.

Because we are Indigenous, animals such as Indian ponies and  traditional Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, and other plants will also be woven into Yakni i Chukash.  People of many Indigenous nations are a part of the work that Yakni i Chukash empowers and facilitates, so the Indigenous traditions of our partners are also embraced within and by the heart of this Place. We have seen that respectful reception already beginning to happen.  It permits us to come together as fully as we possibly can, to do the work with which the Land has charged us.

Tapestry also works with people of the dominant culture, and Yakni i Chukash includes and embraces them as well, in a way that helps them find and reconnect with the indigenous roots of their own ancestral traditions. The horses we partner with here are particularly helpful in this regard, since people of European descent (especially the women) are often still able to sense the strong connection that’s existed between the horse nation and themselves for millennia.

You could envision our Land partner of Yakni i Chukash acting as a powerful lens to focus all the elements that come together in Tapestry’s work, in which case you could imagine the outpouring Knowledge that results as a brilliant light.  You could also envision Yakni i Chukash as a loom weaving all these different elements together, creating something of benefit to all;  or as a soup pot that cooks together many different ingredients, brought by different nations, peoples, and traditions, creating a nourishing food that is available to feed many. But however you envision the role of the Land that literally grounds Yakni i Chukash, it’s essential to understand that the Land is the powerful engine that drives the advance of Indigenous Knowledge, through Indigenous ceremony of many different kinds, and through the work of the humans and other living beings with which it collaborates.

You can gain more insight into the Vision manifesting itself as Yakni i Chukash by exploring the symbolism of the image below, which represents it.

Click here to read about the meaning of this emblem.