This March was the 25th anniversary of Tapestry Institute’s founding back in 1998. Throughout those 25 years, we’ve carried out rewarding projects of research to better understand how people learn about and relate to the natural world. Our collaborative teams of colleagues include Indigenous people from literally all over the world, and we’ve worked with and been supported by groups ranging from the John Templeton Foundation to the National Science Foundation. We’ve organized national conferences on Indigenous Knowledge, applied principles of IK to innovative programs of equine therapy used to treat trauma survivors, and have recently begun to develop guidelines for more effective collaboration between Indigenous communities and Western philanthropic organizations. But we’ve always had to gather our collaborative teams in sterile conference facilities or motel meeting spaces — usually ones close enough to a state park that we could get outdoors long enough each day to stimulate the kind of nature experience we’re working to understand and advance.
Now, thanks to the generosity of our long-term research partners, friends, and colleagues, and an extraordinary gift from a foundation, we finally have a facility of our own!!!
Now when we work on a project, our collaborative professional teams of Indigenous scholars, educators, artists, scientists, writers, lawyers, film-makers, horsepeople, agriculturalists, and Elders can meet on beautiful rolling prairie land at the foot of northwest Nebraska’s Pine Ridge. It will take a while to get our new facility set up to fully and comfortably host our small collaborative teams, but there are perfect spaces of several different kinds for gathering, and room to put people up and share meals together. Best of all, there’s beautiful prairie land here and horse facilities, so team members can ride, hike, or just sit quietly in a peaceful landscape when we take breaks to think creatively about the work we’re doing. That’s always been one of the most powerful parts of what we do, that makes the materials we produce so innovative. And it’s always been the hardest part of our meetings to arrange at distant locations. Now we have a place to host it all on our own beautiful grounds.
Somehow, it feels like coming home.