8) Vision Quest Education



‘Indigene’ (Latin = ‘self-generating’

Community’ (L. 'com' = 'together' + 'munus' = 'gift / service') 


Supporting sustainable projects (content) & processes (medium). Member livelihood & recognition are as important as our goals.  Building projects across Montreal with accounting for giving & receiving. Environmental groups often operate by pressuring other authorities for change whereas: individuals, families & communities hold key economies for creating a better world in our own daily activities & spending. We need to manifest our values, first amongst ourselves. See 4) Apprentice Education.  https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/structure/4-apprenticeship-education

Indigenous people and are original ancestors worldwide developed 'education' (Latin = 'to lead forth from within') based in mentorship of the young in apprenticeship by elders.  Youth were also encouraged to go beyond mentorship, celebrated for their own unique callings, if their voice or vision did not find reflection in the present knowledge relations of adults or elders.  Mentorship was based in the extended Multihome dwelling and community clustered village arrangements as well as the Production Society.  The priority of 'domestic' multihome economies empowered elders, women, handicapped, youth living and collaborating easily in proximity so as to animate economic interaction.   The grouping of talents into Production Societies with accounting for contributions in progressive ownership from youth to elder in disciplines such as medicine, accounting, food-service, gardening-orcharding, clothes making & repair, child care and raising of children integrated a huge economy without artificial institutions.  This empowered base including and accounting for women's labours of all sorts gave a strong popular basis to society as well as  forming checks and balances to industrial and commercial economies.  Families, Extended Multihome dwellings such as Longhouses were divided into apartment-like areas for family privacy.  Pueblo were more like townhouses of today.  All dwellings and the village outlay were designed with solar charting for the sun's rays, plant based bio-digestion of fecal, urine and collective kitchen food cuttings.  Communities were interactive enabling multiple generations to interact and contribute their complementary gifts to each other.
Typically when a child turned ten they would be encouraged to begin a Vision-Quest of discovering their inherent personal gift for society.  Such a vision-quest depended as well upon the child's inner direction as to how it would unfold so as to be different for any individual.  Elders would help the child perhaps with the telling of their own story of Vision-Quest or other methods of guidance but always without coercion.  Some youth on their quest might stay within the largely urban village built environment.  Other youth may leave habitations on walk-abouts, taking time to reflect away from their homes.  Some youth may fast or any number of paths to enable their inner voice to speak with clarity.  The vision quest literally lasts the course of one's entire life, with emphasis on each person engaging their free will.
Mohandas Gandhi described this for his own life in his auto-biography, My Experiments with Truth.  Coupled with the realization that; we are all searchers for truth, none with surety, is 'Satyagraha' (Hindi = 'truth-search') whereby we reach out to our fellow searchers to see, hear and feel different perspectives.  As we engage with others in our search, we gain the advantage of their perspectives on issues.  When we have conflict, we benefit from hearing from the other-side particularly those who we have diminished or are alienated from.  Gandhi, as a lawyer trained in dialectics, would ask both friend and foe, "What are your best intentions and how can we help you fulfill these?"
LIVING 'VILLAGE' (Mohawk = 'Kanata')
These village environments were typically replete with Polyculture Orchards woven throughout the buildings soaking up rain and snow water, providing habitat for other creatures who each played a role in the life of the community.  Because of Polyculture Orchard Food Production, water was conserved in the abundant biosphere, creeks and rivers were held in steady state flows across huge continental habited regions. Children had abundant diversity of plant and animal species all around them at all times vertically in the 3-dimensional tree canopy, vast root systems and lush productive vines and ground cover.
The apprenticeship process begins with complementary connection with a mentor and the task at hand.  Flows of energy and purpose are largely complementary in human society so it is built into us as social creatures to look for these.  We are all equal before the task of life and complementary approaches celebrate the fresh vision of youth with the skilled application of masters.  Typically the youth apprentice is simply just present with the mentor.  Indigenous 'economies of scale' in multihome dwellings enabled mothers and fathers to be present with their children during the course of the day.  The youth could therefore simply 'hang-around' the elder and participate in contributing to the task at hand with small acts including the act of observation.  The youth in apprenticeship and cultural learning is not only observing the process of fulfilling an 'objective' but as well the 'subjective'.  Are the adults he or she is with enjoying themselves?  Are they in good health?  Are human relations with others healthy?
Much of apprentice learning process is through 'osmosis', one can describe as 'a master's movement of knowledge to the apprentice through his or her culture, intensity, integration and relationships for employing the knowledge'.  Knowledge-in-motion is akin to the cultural laboratory, where one learns from observation of a host of factors. The master's knowledge is as valuable as the community relationships built around its employment.  Facts do not exist in silos by themselves but in their relationship of creating livelihood and life for community and all creation.  This cultural process is what the apprentice learns.  The mentor, Production Society and community celebrates each youth for the gifts which she or he are uniquely cultivating.  Its considered by many studies (eg. Petr Kropotkin Mutual-Aid, a factor of evolution) that; indigenous peoples worked only one hour per day. The abundance of 3-dimensional Polyculture Orchards and integrating all gifts through nature, meant that these societies were rich and had the latitude to cultivate gentle human relations.

In modern society we have destroyed the biosphere and thus enslave ourselves to artificial, exploitive and destructive economies, which we know are coming to an end.  This inner knowing of the destruction we are involved in creates a sense of panic which further causes us to denigrate our youth in institutional schools and other programs designed to 'train' them.  We confront the youth for what they do not know and often expect them to memorize it rather than listen to their inner voice. The student mind is looking for who, why, what, where, when & how it can complement, but only finds confrontation from teachers who aren't engaged in creating social goods and services but only in student  instruction. A vicious circle is created without a leading example. Youth in institutional schools only gain 'credits' in a vague system of social 'status', whereas youth in a Production Society gain a livelihood, relations with masters and their community for their unique strengths, allowing for them to apply themselves to a culture of knowledge.  Of course institutionally segregating youth and approaching them for their 'supposed deficiency' is false because knowledge is infinite.  Indigenous people celebrate one's strengths and gifts, thus encouraging the integrity and appreciation of the self in community, not one's institutionally supposed deficiencies.
Each of us is a 'Voice of the earth speaking'.  The knowledge and intelligence of life is far greater than any one person or institution trying to interpret it.  Life is speaking through every person in a complementary holistic way exactly as needed by both the individual and the society.  Indigenous peoples understand sacredness in this relationship with life and therefore turned to their youth as the turned to themselves, to celebrate each voice.  European residential schools based on 'civilizing the indian' were and are in every-way a complete abomination against truth, knowledge and life as is the segregated (age-related) Public School System presently.
Youth find themselves contributing to the health and well-being of their families, extended multi-home and community as well as learning from this process.  Once applying one's self to community tasks and seeing the results, youth both individually and together as a generation are proud of their specialized contribution.  Accounting within the Production Societies for the youth's contribution give each a progressive ownership, reflecting their contribution, experience, developing expertise and decision-making acumen in each area of expertise.  The string-shell accounting systems calculated time-contributions with multipliers in the seniority of knowledge.  Production Society members voted with their string-shell much as participatory companies today account for the progressive ownership and voting power of members over the course of a lifetime.  Elders are celebrated for their deep technical and cultural knowledge.
With each youth, journeyman and elder as voting owners of the Production Societies PS each in their own area of expertise, then feedback was inherent within the system to correct mistakes and advance technique and knowledge.  Voting was based on the level of contribution or investment which each had made over their lifetime so as to be weighted in favor or the elder.  Still apprentices together could make their voices heard.  Women's work being accounted for and organized in PS, meant that this important voice and wisdom of women was represented in the economic and political life of extended home dwellings, communities and nations.  This foundation of Economic Democracy enables each contributor in their own specialty to nurture their knowledge and power for the community as well as being heard and having the power of application for their trade.

This section is under construction with additions coming within this month of March.  Your feedback and suggestions are most welcome.  douglasf.jack@gmail.com

Question and Comments

The gadget spec URL could not be found