Annual Project Summary 2015

The Tracking Project

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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 – 2015 to communities in Brazil and the Hawaiian islands. In May we began NTR / New Mexico II, a new mentor program— with 24 mentor candidates from all around the United States.  In October we traveled to Brazil for a series of events, joining our friends at the University of Peace (UNIPAZ) in Brasilia for a new Formação do Jovens (youth training). We also traveled to Cavalcante, Goias for the second year of Nutrindo as Raízes II, our second Brazilian mentor program with 35 new candidates.

* People of the Earth, La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. In March, we traveled to Durango, CO to attend a presentation by the Mother Earth Restoration Trust, who recruited us to meet the Elders of the Four Peoples — the Arhuaco, Kogi, Wiwa and Kankuamo. In April we traveled to Valledupar, Colombia to be received and “interviewed” by the Arhuaco Elders at Nabusimake. In September, a group of Elders from La Sierra visited New Mexico to join us for a series of gatherings in Santa Fe, sponsored by New Enchantment and TTP.

* Hawaiian Arts of Life. We traveled to Honolulu, O’ahu in October to spend three days hiking with the entire Grade 7 (350 + students) of the Kamehameha Middle School, presenting ideas on survival, sustainability, natural and cultural awareness.

* 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.

* Haiku ‘Aina Permaculture Initiative (HAPI). We continued the work we have been doing since 2011 with the HAPI project in Haiku, Maui with several visits. In June, John Stokes and Lisa B. Matkin joined Hawaiian kupuna Sam Ka‘ai to present a planting workshop. And in November, John and Lisa presented a 3 day training for the staff at HAPI, took part in an Open Day for the public at the HAPI site and took part in another seminar for a group of planters.

* Wings of America/ Coaches Clinic. John Stokes was invited to offer a presentation for the coaches and runners of this Native American running group at the Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM.

* Novas Pegadas Youth Tracking Camp – Year 2. For the second year, we traveled to Rociada, New Mexico to work with a group of 40 young people from all around the United States, ages 12 – 24.

* Summer Skills camps. We continued to host our summer youth tracking and awareness camps in New Mexico: our twentieth annual Dreamtracking camp for girls, ages 10 -16; the twenty-ninth 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 seventeenth year.

* 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.