This is the Pine Ridge of northwestern Nebraska, the Land that’s called us home. Look at this picture thoughtfully, and you’ll know why the titles on each page of our website are the particular color of blue they are, and why the page backgrounds are the precise shade of tan you see.
The Land is the ground of everything Tapestry does — and is.
The colors we’ve used on our pages embed a mythic way of knowing about this Land into our website. In doing so, they help plant a seed of relationship between you and the Land itself. That is, after all, one of the goals of the distant learning programs we plan to carry out at our new facility: to help people experience the world within Indigenous worldview. Simply seeing a photograph like the one on this page doesn’t take most people outside the box of their normal experience, but adding the element of mythic ways of knowing makes that experience shimmer just a little, floating you right to the edge of something new. That’s the place — that little sense of the tiniest shimmer you might feel when you think about what we’re saying about the relationship between these colors, you, and the land of Pine Ridge — that’s the place where there’s a little doorway into Indigenous worldview. It’s subtle, which is precisely the problem people of the dominant culture have when it comes to understanding Indigenous Knowledge the way so many want to. Subtle things are, by definition, not obvious. They are easy to miss. The path to Indigenous Knowledge goes through the doorway of Indigenous worldview. We help you find that door by intentionally combining the Land and different ways of knowing in designs that help forge a relationship between you and Indigenous Knowledge itself.
The photograph on this page is static, and the color system to which we’ve connected it is a very simple way of knowing. With Land that actively engages with learners, we will design much more powerful learning experiences. We’ll be able to integrate many different ways of knowing with sounds and images of our specific Land Partner through videos, webcam feed, and special livestreaming events on a state-of-the-art 360 camera. This will deliver experiences you literally cannot imagine because you’ve never encountered them before. That’s because no other organization does what Tapestry does. We were founded for the specific purpose of facilitating Indigenous Knowledge by helping it express itself and act in a world that desperately needs it.
But the Land’s expression and action are not carried out through our education programs alone. They also manifest through programs of research such as IKhana Fund, which will support Indigenous people who are acquiring new Indigenous Knowledge and learning how to use it properly. The things these people do can start weaving a whole new world of health and balance in which every person can once again sense the very real, deeply profound connection that binds us to one another and to the Land. It’s challenging work for many reasons, but the Land itself called the project into being through Vision. So we know it’s doable, but that we must be able to meet on and with the Land itself for the process to have the power it needs. It is this Land of the Pine Ridge area that has reached out to us to take part.
When we decided to launch a capital funds campaign in the spring of 2020 so we could buy the Land we need to work with (since purchase is the practical way this has to be accomplished), we had no idea a novel virus would bring so much of the world to its knees at the same time. When the situation became clear, we wondered if we should wait, if the crisis everyone faces is so massive that it eclipses the importance of what we’re trying to do.
Then we realized this situation actually demonstrates why our work is so essential. There’s good evidence the new virus, like others before it, passed from animal to human populations because of environmental changes that brought previously isolated things into contact. That is to say, relationships in a specific ecosystem destabilized in an almost unnoticeably small and completely accidental way, which created a loss of balance that has rippled through the world because of the degree to which everything is truly interconnected. It is these interconnections that are responsible for the virus throwing not just individual bodies but whole economic systems into chaos.
Tapestry supports Indigenous people working to learn how humans can avoid creating environmental destabilizations of many different kinds, as well as how to re-stabilize environments that are already seriously out of balance. At the same time, we help people of the dominant culture learn enough about Indigenous worldview to be allies who understand the importance of putting Indigenous Knowledge into action. The Land is essential to this work — and not just any parcel of land. We need to live with, meet on, work with, care for, and empower our research and education programs with the assistance and power of Land that actively partners with us. Which land will this be? How large a parcel? We don’t know for certain. We need to have at least 15 acres to support the Mustangs who partner with us already. Ideally we would like to have enough land that we can adopt more Mustangs to help with the work, and also bring buffalo back to the Land to partner with us. Buffalo, like horses, are a very important part of healthy Land relationships in this area. That would requires several hundred healthy acres (and very good fence!), but that’s feasible in northwestern Nebraska because land prices are relatively low here. Obviously, even more land would give us more, and more diverse, individual places where we could do filming and set up livestream events; and very large ranches don’t cost that much more than ones of several hundred acres. But the answers to all these questions ultimately depend on how much money we’re able to raise in this campaign. All we can say for certain is this:
All the different variables will come together exactly the way they need to if we are true to the sacred process in motion. We are doing that, to the very best of our ability.
We invite you to become a part of it with us.