Not your ordinary tour: Guided journeys in the American Southwest
We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. – T.S. Eliot
We are alive on a sacred, living earth. Each person’s life journey—known by some as their “earth walk”—is an opportunity to remember the wisdom found around the world and within ourselves. We need this wisdom now more than ever before. Fortunately, there is an increasing convergence of modern science and indigenous teachings. Earth Walks® is an empowering way to experience this knowledge by:
- Experiencing the arts, health and earth-based traditions
- Participating in exciting journeys and seminars of self discovery
- Joining community hands-on service projects
Earth Walks® is not a hiking or backpacking program. It has provided cross-cultural, environmental education and volunteer services for the past 17 years. Experiences renew and nourish the fire of spirit and connect to joy and humor amidst life’s challenges. They offer a bridge between wisdom teachings and our contemporary life. Earth Walks is located on the land of traditional Tewa and Keres Pueblo sovereign nations, now called Santa Fe, New Mexico. We acknowledge the deep connections of Indigenous peoples to the land and their significant contributions of past, present, and future. In acknowledging these connections, we express our gratitude for the opportunity to live, work, and learn on this land. Earth Walks is committed to helping reconcile injustices, restoring voices, and realizing the well being of the community.
Participants on Earth Walks are welcomed as family and friends into villages, homes and communities to enjoy a variety of activities:
- Drum making, pottery, weaving and other traditional art
- Storytelling, poetry, music-making and ceremonial dancing
- Planting or harvesting in the fields
- Preparing, cooking and enjoying a meal of traditional foods
- Sharing silence on the land in places of inspiring natural beauty and power
- Helping with community service projects that offer ways to both serve and learn
- Heart-felt dialogue with Native American, Hispanic and Latinx artists, growers, poets, writers and teachers
Listen to a talk given by Doug about his experiences
What are Eco-Tours?
Traditional systems of Indian education represent ways of learning and doing through a nature-centered philosophy. They are among the oldest continuing expressions of ‘environmental’ education in the world. Taken as a whole, they represent an environmental education process with profound meaning for modern education as it faces the challenges of living in the twenty-first century. – Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education by Santa Clara Pueblo scholar Dr. Greg Cajete
Principles of Ecotourism
Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities follow these ecotourism principles:
- Minimize impact.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
- Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate
For more information go to: http://www.ecotourism.org/what-is-ecotourism
EarthWalks seeks to follow these guidelines. Activities involve visits with people who are well versed in the traditions of their people who have lived in the area for generations. Experiences help participants understand how different cultural traditions practice a sustainable approach to health, healing and basic ways of learning. Some of the journeys also provide community service projects such as helping with the planting or harvesting of crops or assisting children or elders in a needed project that supports their traditional way of life. Nature is our ally on these journeys. An essential aspect of Earth Walks® is time on the land where one can experience the silence of the stars, the renewal of a morning sunrise or the wisdom of a raven’s call—ways of hearing one’s inner voice.