October 15th Saturday Evening 7:30pm-9:30pm
Keynote with Thomas J. Elpel The New Era of Self-Sufficiency
It is easy to be overwhelmed at the magnitude of the challenges we face as a species, when the whole world seems to be careening towards economic and environmental collapse. How can we adapt to a rapidly changing world, build a sustainable civilization, and put the brakes on climate change? Thomas J. Elpel, author of Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills, suggests that we can start by taking our shoes off and getting back in touch with the earth. We can rediscover our connection to nature through the traditional knowledge of our ancestors. By living close to the earth we can gain the physical grounding necessary to re-examine the challenges we face as a society and find answers to some of the most vexing problems that face our species.
Thomas Elpel is the director of Green University® LLC and Hollowtop Outdoor Primitive School LLC in Pony, Montana. (www.hollowtop.com). He has authored six books and produced six videos on topics ranging from wilderness survival and botany to green building and consciousness. Elpel connects the dots from wilderness survival to sustainable
living, showing how the quest for survival in nature functions as a metaphor for living that empowers us to see new solutions in the modern world.
Keynote with Tamarack Song Remembering: a Key to Weathering the Changes
Coming from a technological culture, we are conditioned to look for technology-based solutions to our rapidly deteriorating global environment. However, some Native elders point out that when we try to fix something our way, we often wind up making more of a mess. “Maybe you don’t have the answers,” they say, ” maybe you don’t NEED answers.” They tell us we are missing a fundamental component of survival: trust. So out of fear, we approach problems from our heads rather than our hearts. We hold on to what is familiar—to electricity, private vehicles, animal husbandry—and look for alternatives to them rather than asking the fundamental question, “Do I really need this?”
The question for many is how we would accomplish the transition from technology to trust. The elders say we need to remember what it is to be human. As nomadic hunter-gatherers, our ancestors had to constantly adapt to a changing environment. Through stories from his experience guiding groups through an entire year of primitive wilderness living, Tamarack demonstrates a technology that is neither tool nor resource based, and it is perpetually sustainable. It comes from forgetting what we think we know and remembering what we’ve always known.
Tamarack Song is a seeker of truth who works to bridge ancestral ways with our modern times. Tamarak runs the Brother Wolf Foundation sanctuary, and Teaching Drum Outdoor School in Northern Wisconsin. He helps participants rediscover what it is to be human, to live both natural and modern worlds, and respect the Earth, themselves, and each other.
October 16th 10:45am-12:15pm Sunday Keynote Address
Keynote with Tim Meyers Sustainable Agriculture in Rural Alaska
Meyers was told years ago that gardening most likely wouldn’t be very successful in Bethel. What he discovered was that the soil in Bethel is perfect for growing vegetables. While the temperatures in Bethel are less than ideal, Meyers has learned how to deal with that by using hoop houses, a root cellar, innovative warming methods and a focus on soil ecosystems. Meyers is known as an innovative farmer who figures out how to make things work. Meyer’s will share his ideas on food security and sustainability in rural Alaska as well as his housing ideas which could make housing affordable in rural Alaska.
Tim Meyers, owner of Meyers Farm, grows local to provide the community of Bethel, AK, with affordable, fresh, free of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers produce, all summer long. Meyers Farm now exports to Anchorage, and intends to expand to become a year round source of Bethel produce. Meyers Farm is committed to sustainable farming, providing high quality fresh local produce, and an affordable, healthier alternativeto keep consumers and the environment healthy. Meyers sustainable farming focuses on building soil fertility with natural material, resulting in rich, vital field ecosystems that produce fruits and vegetables as pure and healthy as they were intended to be!
Keynote with Karen Evanoff, Dena’ina Elena: A Celebration –a Window into Dena’ina Culture
Karen shares her most recent experience gathering and editing oral histories into “a window into Dena’ina culture.” As a younger leader, Karen seeks to honor elders who generously shared their knowledge, values, and memories, describing Denaina traditions on place-naming, name meanings, and traditional ways of seeing and being of the Dena’ina (“the people”– one of 11 Alaskan Athabascan groups). Culminating a 10 year effort by James Kari, National Park Service, and many others, Dena’ina Elena: A Celebration, was published in September, 2010.
Karen Evanoff is from the Dena’ina Athabascan Tribe and was born and raised in the Qizhjeh Vena ‘a place where people gather’ known as Lake Clark region. Karen works as a Cultural Anthropologist for Lake Clark National Park, and is the Vice-Chair of the Native village corporation of Kijik. She has worked extenstively in cultural resouce preservation, working to incorporate Traditional Ecolgical Knowlege (TEK) and Native perspective into various programs. This work included incorporating TEK into the Alaska state-approved Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPP) template for Tribal water quality programs. With UAF Oral History Office, Karen assisted with the Lake Clark Project Jukebox, to collect oral histories on village life prior to contact: how children were instructed; traditional uses of land; transportation before planes, boats, and motors; and traditional resource values, which continue throughout Native life today. She also designed a Dena’ina tools slideshow, providing a view into Native education and craftsmanship. Karen has presented on “Understanding Resource Impacts through Ethnographic Research”, and works on land use planning and protection in the Lake Clark region.
Karen Evanoff is from the Dena’ina Athabascan Tribe and was born and raised in the Qizhjeh Vena ‘a place where people gather’ known as Lake Clark region. Karen works as a Cultural Anthropologist for Lake Clark National Park, and is the Vice-Chair of the Native village corporation of Kijik. She has worked extenstively in cultural resouce preservation, working to incorporate Traditional Ecolgical Knowlege (TEK) and Native perspective into various programs.