Heart of the Earth Center

[Note: The information on this page refers to a vision that we presently have no way of actualizing. The pandemic has hit Indian country very hard, so it hasn’t felt appropriate to launch an initiative that requires major funding for purposes other than COVID relief. At the same time, the vision for this Center came to us before the pandemic started, and we have reason to believe it will be of great benefit to all people. We’ve put its pages back online now (spring 2021) specifically in response to several situations that called it forth once again, occasions when we found ourselves describing the vision and saying its name. We do not know how this Center can come into being right now, but we honor the fact that apparently it wishes to express itself to other people at this time. If you find yourself responding to this vision in some way that moves you to contact us for more information, we invite you to reach out by email or phone.]

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.) Yakni i Chukash is a Center for Advancing Indigenous Knowledge: a physical Place collaborating with and through a group of people working together to serve, empower, and facilitate Indigenous Knowledge. Yakni i Chukash is “a” Center rather than “the” Center because many Indigenous people worldwide are working to advance Indigenous Knowledge. But, at the same time, Yakni i Chukash is an important new focal point, something that has called its own self into existence within our hearts and minds for reasons that must be respected.

The Land base portion of Yakni i Chukash is (and will be, in a more specific way) 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, yucca, 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 Tapestry’s founder is Choctaw and that is as much a part of her as the buffalo are part of this Place, Choctaw ponies and Choctaw food crops — traditional varieties of corn, beans, squash, and other plants — are also woven into Yakni i Chukash.  The people of other Indigenous nations are a part of Yakni i Chukash as well, and each of them brings important elements of wisdom and understanding to the work by way of the language, ritual, and perspectives of their own people.

You could envision the Land partner acting as a powerful lens to focus all the human elements that come together in the Center’s work, in which case you could imagine the outpouring Knowledge that results as a brilliant light.  You could also envision the Land Partner as a loom weaving all these different elements into something of benefit to all, or as a soup pot that cooks together many different ingredients, brought by different people and traditions, into a nourishing food that is available to feed many. But however you envision the role of the Land Partner that literally grounds Yakni i Chukash, it’s essential to understand that the Land — which includes the stones, animals, plants, waters, and other living elements — is the powerful engine that drives the advance of Indigenous Knowledge through the work of the humans 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.