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Western Mind ~

Indigenous Mind

In our quest to reclaim and co-create ecological civilization today, rejecting western thinking and
embracing indigenous mind is an important part of the journey! Our legacy of western values
began as a patriarchal ideology that viewed the land, elements and creatures as objects to be
owned, and went on to perpetuate the rule of all that is mechanistic, disembodied, material and
subject to control. As Empire evolved in the western world we were taught to ignore the holistic
connections, to sort things into the appropriate categories, and to divide and conquer our own
reality. The logic of domination placed human beings and their needs in the superior position,
and enabled conquest and ecocide all over the world. And unlike indigenous societies, the western
worldview that we have inherited is lacking in true care or responsibility to Earth Community.
It may be difficult for us to reclaim an earth-rooted
identity after centuries of being told that western
civilization is the only way to live, or that we cannot
exist without the cultural treasures, benefits and
amenities of the western world. And it may be a
daunting task to know ourselves as indigenous
beings dwelling in an animistic universe once again.
But the outcome is clear that by rejecting Empire in
principle and deed, we naturally align with the
sacredness of the Earth, and reaffirm our deep love
and respect for nature at the heart of our
worldview(s). Challenging the entitlement of
western mind means shifting to a renewed focus on
all that is compassionate, intuitive, empathic and
grounded, both in our physical bodies and the land.
The emergence of holistic thinking in our time is an
essential re-indigenization process, and the
necessary rebalancing that is needed after centuries
of fractured, separatist western empiricism.

Beyond our world of modern complexity and technology, the truth of the tribal
human soul and the touch of the tribal human hand continue to manifest, and
the guiding forces are already in place for the collective recovery of our Ancient
Spirit and our return to eco-soul. We have eternal access to a deep well of
ancestral knowing, the divine pattern lives on in the DNA, and Gaias matrix and
the Web of Life sustain all beings with an everlasting restoration of healing and
new growth! And even though urbanized humanity seems to be able to live with
the illusion of separation from the natural world, and it may appear that we have
given up on the Earth, the harmonic intelligence and Great Heart in nature is
waiting, and the Earth has not given up on us.

The essence of Natura, the Green

Goddess, or veriditas1 is the irreducible
principle that all things rise again in
perennial growth, and that the green soul
of the entire Earth Community is blessed
with renewal and rebirth. Remaining in
place as a timeless, thriving and everrejuvenating mystery, the power of life
itself is eloquently described by Dylan
Thomas as the force that through the
green fuse drives the flower, drives my
green age.2 The unfailing themes of
abundant life and green growth on Earth
continue to manifest, even as we move
into an unpredictable future. The beauty
and timelessness of ancestral wisdom is
an unstoppable force, as rewilding and
recovering indigenous mind become the
goal for all people. And even though we
have ancient models to follow, with the
shift to ecodigenity we are entering new
ground, and it is simplistic to suggest
can renounce ourselves
completely as modern people. It may be
more helpful to identify the foremost
components of modern mind, and then
set out to reclaim the opposite in
whatever shape and form that takes,
keeping in mind that
our critical
thinking and analytical skills continue to
be powerful gifts we can
apply as
informed and enlightened human beings.

Our journey will come full circle in a

surprising paradox, with our primal
return, or re-indigenization, becoming the
future primitive wave of the future!

Knowing the Earth to be the source of spiritual wisdom allows indigenous mind to unfold, and
to perceive that there are a million ways the living magic and primal matrix of The Sacred is
trying to come back into the world. Tribal sounds fading in and out, the ancient shadows, the
hidden meanings...the eternal archtypes that weave natural law into human life continue to
arise. Perhaps the answer lies in the embodiment of our own root culture and the principle
that all indigenous cultures share, which is to be deeply bonded to the more-than-human
world. As we acknowledge all beings as our relatives - our brothers, sisters and kindred spirits
in the dance - we become devoted to the balance and harmony of the entire Earth Community.
The gentleness, love, respect and care we feel means that we are incapable of using or abusing
nature past the carrying capacity of the land, and in the end, these are the mindful qualities
that will translate into sustainable societies and well-being for all.

We are the Ancestors of the future, and this is how Ancestors live! Learn the Old Ways of your
people and find or adopt a piece of land to love with all your heart. Re-embrace your true home
and become empowered to hold space for decolonizing community to arise. Carve out a natural
lifestyle, listen to what the earth is telling you, celebrate and honour the land, and praise the
land. Create the ceremonies, rituals, artistic expressions, crafts, stories, songs and feasts that
convey your interaction with the spirits of the land. Practice the sacred activities that dovetail
with the cycles and the Great Wheel of the Year. Plant when it is time, harvest when it is time,
rest when it is time, and respect the living things - the plants and animals that have given their
lives for your existence. Root your heart to the earth where it can stay strong, stay your face to
the moon, your skin to the sun, your hands to the soil, your eyes to the beauty of nature, your
heart to the creatures, your gratitude to the Green Fuse, your wonder to the interconnectivity
of it all, and your soul anchored in the deep dreaming of the land that will hold you in loving
embrace throughout your long revolutions of birthing, living, dying and being born again.

The following WESTERN MIND ~ INDIGENOUS MIND visual aid is not

comprehensive as a universal human study, but sets out certain aspects
of western mind that we may want to revise or discard, and elements of
indigenous mind that we may want to encourage or embrace.

Modern Thinking/
Western Mind

Ancestral Thinking/
Indigenous Mind

Human separate from nature.

Bounded by the ego, set apart from
Material and having a sense of linear
Linear thinking gets the job done but
linearity interferes with the natural
ability to experience life and emotions
in a holistic way.
Over-rational, over-analytical, oververbal.
Subject-object relations, seeks
Dualistic either/or and fragmented
The emphasis on reductionism, overthinking and verbal aquity can limit
freedom and authentic reflection or
Learning is forced through curriculum,
supervision, instruction and
Sense of self is sociallyconditioned.
Restless mind, living in the past
and future.
Focused on facts, figures and
Eager to control and acquire.
With an egocentric bias, western
society produces minds that are
dysfunctional, immoral and immature.

Human as part of nature.

Connected, empathic, resonating with
Physically grounded and embodied.
In the now, time is perceived
Cyclical thinking based on spirit
connectivity, natural processes,
creativity and peace, rather than
singularity, ownership or dominance.
Nonverbal, cogent, integrated,
Ancestral mind evoked when in
Non-dualistic holistic thinking.

The belief that intelligence only comes

from logic and linear

Words are limiting, behaviors speak

louder than words, one is connected to
creation through the heart, the intuition
and intelligence of the senses.
Learning is purely experiential, one is
empowered to acquire knowledge at
own pace in own way.
Identity is based on experience and
Restless mind suspended, spiral and
cyclical thought.
Vibrant and present in the field of
mindfulness and awareness.
Sense of the mystery, wonder, awe.
With an ecocentric foundation,
indigenous societies integrate selfdiscovery, soul, wisdom and
All intelligences are combined, and our
holistic potential as a true human
being is fulfilled.

1. Veriditas is the spiritual term coined by German Abbess, composer, herbalist and mystic Hildegard von Bingen
(1098 1179), to describe her vision of the green power of nature and the unity of all creation.
2. Dylan Thomas, The force that through the green fuse drives the flower, The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas,
J.M. Dent & Sons, 1957.


Everyone needs to get back to their own Indigenous Knowledge.
James Dumont, Anishnaabe Elder & Traditional Teacher, Biimaadiziwin, Elders and
Traditional Peoples Gathering, Trent University, Peterborough, ON, February 12-14, 2010

All humans are indigenous to planet Earth and every one of us has the ability to
awaken indigenous mind, which is the innate ability to become aware of the Earth at
an intimate and dynamic level and respond to messages and stimuli from all beings
and life in the moment. Accessing indigenous mind means a commitment to slowing
down, remembering and re-conceiving on a smaller scale, to reclaim intimacy with
nature and its layers of species as an aspect of our own essential nature.

Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees, Indigenous Mind, Hope Beneath Our Feet: Restoring Our Place
in the Natural World, North Atlantic Press, 2010

The elders remind us of the importance of the long view when they say pin peyeh
obe look to the mountain. They use this phrase to remind us that we need to look at
things as if we are looking out from the top of a mountain, seeing things in the much
broader perspective of the generations that are yet to come.

Gregory Cajete, PhD (Tewa), Words of Power: Voices from Indian America, edited by Norbert
S. Hill Jr., Fulcrum Publishing, 1999

Connectedness with Ancestors and future generations lifts us out of the microplots of
business as usual and places us in a truer and more expansive story. In lifes epic
journey, every one of our Ancestors lived long enough to pass on the spark of life. This
ancestry extends back in time far beyond the reaches of our human past. With the
shift in identity to our ecological self, we discover that the entire span of recorded
history is just a fraction of a page in a more extensive volume.

Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess Were In Without
Going Crazy, New World Library, 2012

Embracing earth-wise traditional knowledge will help us learn to lovingly and

patiently attune our hands to the heartbeat of the land, teaching us anew the Ancient
Ways. Beckoning us onward is the reenchantment of Earth.

Kenny Ausubel, Dreaming the Future: Reimagining Civilization in the Age of Nature, Chelsea
Green Publishing, 2012

Some would call it a reawakening to the spiritual wisdom of our ancient past. Others
might liken it to the sense of awe at the wonder and beauty of life that follows a neardeath experience. However we choose to characterize it, the Great Turning is opening
the way for an evolutionary leap to a new level of human, social, intellectual and
spiritual possibility. A unique and epic opportunity is presently at hand.
David C. Korten, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, Berrett-Koehler
Publishers, 2006


Indigenous Mind Masters and PhD Programs are offered at The Wisdom School of
Graduate Studies at Ubiquity University, Mill Valley, CA
Curriculum developed by Apela Colorado, PhD (Oneida), scholar, wisdom keeper and
founder of the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network, Lahaina, HI.
Recovery of indigenous mind involves an honest examination of the historical process
that has split the Western mind. It means grieving the genocidal patterns of colonialism
and confronting patterns of internalized oppression. It requires ending one's personal and
cultural addiction to progress. It calls for honoring spirits that have been neglected for
centuries. It means facing the discomfort of uncertainty - a recognition that our knowledge
of community, healing, and nature is incomplete. We invite people who seek authentically
to recover an authentic indigenous mind and life. The program is for those who see the
importance of preserving and passing on traditional worldviews, and for those who long
to recover and re-establish the lifeways and values of their indigenous ancestors lifeways that teach responsibility for reversing the destruction of the planet.


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Remembering the Indigenous Mind: A Journey of Healing and
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Decolonization, healing, rewilding, rituals, healing walks, earth rights and restorative justice.
To cultivate seeds of cultural hope in a time of great transition.
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with participants maintaining the traditions of the Ancestors and web of relationships, both
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A collage of thoughts, reflections and articles relevant to the decolonization process as it
exists for white folks, with a focus on those of Celtic descent.
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New World Library, 2013
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mysticism and the recovery of Indigenous Mind.
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Visual artist and writer Pegi Eyers sees the world through a spiritual lens, and is a devotee
of nature-based culture and all that is sacred to the Earth. Author of Ancient Spirit
Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community she examines the
interface between Turtle Island First Nations and the Settler Society, social justice,
Rejecting Empire, animism, rewilding, the Old Ways, earth rights and the holistic principles
of sustainable living. She is also an advocate for our interconnection with Earth Community,
and the recovery of authentic ancestral wisdom and traditions for all people. Pegi Eyers is
a member of the Celtic mtDNA-based Helena Clan (world clans descended from
Mitochondrial Eve as traced by The Seven Daughters of Eve), with more recent roots
connecting her to the mythic arts and pagan traditions of both England and Scotland. She
lives in the countryside on the outskirts of Nogojiwanong in Mississauga Anishnaabe
territory (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada) on a hilltop with views reaching for miles in all

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