Annual Project Summary 2016

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Founded as a non-profit organization in 1986 by John Stokes, The Tracking Project (TTP) in Corrales, New Mexico has worked with community educators and Native elders from around the world to design a series of teachings which connect individuals directly to the natural world. Our programs of natural and cultural awareness include a wide range of skills — from traditional tracking and survival skills to music, storytelling, dance, peacemaking and martial arts training. The name Arts of Life was chosen to describe these programs which emphasize indigenous knowledge, the lessons of Nature and the power of art.

Our special thanks to the Aurora Foundation, the Frances V.R. Seebe Charitable Trust, the Attias Family Foundation, the John Densmore Living Trust, Raging Wire, the Edward & Verna Gerbic Family Foundation, the Ward & Eis Gallery, and the many individual contributors who have made these programs possible.

Projects in the past year included:

* Nurturing the Roots (NTR): our international community mentor project. We continued to expand our mentor network through our Global Mentor Outreach Initiative 2005 – 2016 to communities in Brazil and the Hawaiian islands. In May we hosted the second year of NTR / New Mexico II, a mentor program with 24 candidates from all around the United States.

In October we traveled to Brazil for a series of events. At the invitation of the caciques and the elders of the Yudja people, we visited Aldeia Aribaru in the Xingu Indigenous Preserve, Mato Grosso, to learn of the Yudja and to present materials that were of interest to the community. We met with leaders of the Kayapo people as well. We also traveled to Cavalcante, Goias for the third and final year of Nutrindo as Raízes II, our second Brazilian mentor program which graduated 30 new mentors.

People of the Earth, Colombia

Taken in Colombia during our work with the People of the Earth.
Photo by: Katie Teague

* People of the Earth, La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. In January, we were invited by the Mother Earth Restoration Trust (MERT) to travel to Santa Marta, Colombia to join the Elders of the Four Peoples — the Arhuaco, Kogi, Wiwa and Kankuamo — in a ceremony for the Mother Earth. John Stokes and Lisa B. Matkin joined a group of 45 youth and Elders for this important gathering.

* Haiku ‘Aina Permaculture Initiative (HAPI). We continued the work we have been doing since 2011 with the HAPI project in Haiku, Maui with a visit in April focusing specifically on creating new projects with local kupuna on Maui. The trip included a visit with kupuna in Hana and visits with friends from Raiatea, French Polynesia.

* Hawaiian Arts of Life. We traveled to Honolulu, O’ahu in October for a week long writers retreat.

* Wildlife preservation through education. With the funding assistance of the Frances V. R. Seebe Trust, we continued our work in the field of wildlife preservation through our classes, literature, products and our on-going links with wildlife groups around the world. Our programs stress the importance of wildlife, habitat protection and the need for humans to care for the Natural World.

* Tracking in the Southwest. We continued to hold our popular Southwest tracking intensive for adults in Cuba, New Mexico with a visit to Chaco Canyon and a week of animal tracking at the Circle A Ranch Hostel.

Tracking in the Southwest

Tracking in the Southwest
Photo by: Cary Odes

* Bosque School Winterim. John Stokes was invited to provide two days of tracking instruction for the students in the Rio Grande Bosque, focusing on wildlife and habitat.

* Ganondagan State Historic Site. We traveled to Victor, New York to present an evening of storytelling for the Friends of Ganondagan at this Seneca historic site. We also held a one day tracking course for the general public.

* Summer Skills camps. We continued to host our summer youth tracking and awareness camps in New Mexico: our twenty first annual Dreamtracking camp for girls, ages 10 -16; the thirtieth year of Hawkeye Training, our tracking/awareness camp for boys 12-18; and Hawkeye Scout, our invitational advanced skills camp, which was held for the eighteenth year.

Dreamtracking in the Badlands

The Dreamtracking girls on the edge of the Badlands. Photo by: India Stokes

* Santa Fe Mountain Center (SFMC). The Tracking Project held a three day retreat for 28 staff members of SFMC in Cuba. New Mexico.

* Special talks and presentations. John Stokes helped to introduce the movie “SEED” at the Jean Cocteau Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He also made a special presentation on the visit with the Yudja community in Mato Grosso and other indigenous communities in Brasil for a Social Justice course at the University of New Mexico.

* Publications. We continued to spread the attitude of gratitude to all living things through our publication Thanksgiving Address : Greetings to the Natural World. Adapted from a traditional Iroquois address to the natural world and originally printed in a Mohawk/English dual translation, these words of gratitude are now available in ten language editions: English, German, Swedish, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Bisayan, French, Hawaiian and Italian. With the publication of the Italian edition and our latest reprint of the English version, we have 80,000 copies of the book in print worldwide.

* Teaching resources/ products. We continued to generate our array of resource products which now includes: the Thanksgiving Address booklets; Thanksgiving Address notecards; two posters — Animal Tracks of the Southwest and Animal Tracks of Brasil — and our workout DVD, Secrets of Natural Movement.

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