APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
The Hocak Elders Council, Inc. is establishing a pilot model sustainable community approach for indigenous peoples based on the integration of 5 primary focus areas. This pilot approach focuses first on augmenting spiritual practice in Elders and the community through the daily use of Transcendental Meditation. With an incorporated non-profit Elder Council that is grounded in spiritual practice and reaffirmed cultural values, work has begun in projects that address the five points of sustainability - namely education, energy, health, agriculture, and cultural restoration and preservation. In the current pilot model in Winnebago, Nebraska an immersion school will be developed that focuses on providing a well-rounded culturally-based education in the indigenous language, while incorporating meditation for stress reduction and personal capacity building. Energy focuses on launching an environmentally compatible and income generating wind farm, while agriculture focuses on building organic food sources through greenhouses and a community garden. There are plans to expand into additional acreage to do commercial organic farming. Health focuses on addressing the chronic issues related to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and stress. In addition to traditional allopathic approaches, a foundation base of meditation, preventive practice, and traditional medicine will be incorporated. Cultural restoration and preservation focuses on establishing forest academies where children can learn about how early relatives learned, and lived?. ceremonies, spiritual wisdom, vision quests?. creative thinking, critical thinking, and critical analysis will also be taught. This teaching will provide a base for native communities to restore their cultural value base and traditional identity, adapted to serve and support a modern context. The outreach efforts will present and foster this approach to be adapted in each community specific to its own tradition, resource assets, community needs, and Elder wisdom.
Finally and most critical is the establishment of the Indigenous Elders Coalition that will support these efforts collectively and monitor it growth. Through this coordinated effort, bridges can be built to other indigenous communities and elders groups around the globe.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Year 1 (Dec. 2010 - Dec. 2011)
Establish a business office and staff the Hocak Elders Council, including the Board of Directors; continue resource development with the private sector; develop a strategic plan for the ongoing and expanded development of the following five point areas- health, education, energy, agriculture, and cultural restoration and preservation:
Health - Continue teaching meditation in the community while expanding funding and completing research on meditation as treatment for diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic diseases. Establish meditative practice and Elder Councils in a minimum of 15 Native American communities. Identify meditators in each community to be trained to manage and monitor group meditation and train at least 2-10 native teachers in each community. Provide healthy organic foods to communities.
Education - Provide ongoing support to students that wish to participate in 'Quiet Time' activities, and lay the foundation for a total Immersion School in the community.
Energy - Begin construction of a commercially viable wind farm.
Agriculture - Do first planting in two commercial greenhouses and undertake and distribute foods from the second planting of the 5-acre community garden. Acquire farm acreage and develop business plan for the organic farm.
Cultural Restoration and Preservation - Complete the design of the first 'Hocak Forest Academy' and operate the Academy with a minimum of 15 young people and 10 tribal elders participants.
Year 2(Jan. 2012 - Dec 2012, and ongoing)
Continue developing commercial enterprises in agriculture and wind energy; and expand the scope of the 5 points for the Nebraska Hocak community to be self-sustaining with commercial enterprises by year 5.
Continue providing support to the current communities and establish an additional Elder Councils in a minimum of 2 international communities and 10 more Native American communities. Begin the process of planning in these communities based on the 5 -point sustainable community model.
Organize a framework for and build representation to the Indigenous Elders Coalition to train and begin to use members of the Indigenous Elders Coalition in outreach to other communities
Year 3 (Jan. 2013 - Dec. 2013)
Continue providing support to the current communities and to establish additional Elder Councils in 3 international communities and 10 more Native American Communities for 5 point development.
Hold the first conference of the Indigenous Elders Coalition (IEC).
Establish meditation as a treatment modality acceptable in Indian Health Service.
Year 4 & 5(Jan. 2014 - Dec. 2015)
Continue expansion of the Elder Councils, and provide technical assistance to establish the 5-point model.
Transition the development of the North American effort to the Indigenous Elders Coalition and firmly establish the International Coalition.
Hold the 2nd and 3rd conferences of the IEC
Indigenous communities around the world have been decimated and polluted by colonization, war, domination and intrusion in the name of progress and salvation. In this name, cultural and spiritual practice have been lost, old wisdom has been destroyed or hidden in the far memory of a few, entire populations have lost their healthy life practices, and their essential cultural and sacred connection to each other and the world around them has been diminished. This has resulted in the people in these communities, and the native nations they come from, searching for a sense of self, but doing so in the context of an external model whose value base is often in spiritual and cultural dissonance with their natural law. There is no greater example of this than Native Communities in the United States and Canada. Although, on the surface, these communities are achieving some economic success through the development of new industry (i.e.. gambling, manufacturing, service industries, etc.), you still see evidence of a spiritual chasm represented by high unemployment, violence, suicide and substance abuse, epidemic diabetes and obesity, and desperation at times to connect to something meaningful that is inherent to spirit. Always elusive, is a prosperous way of life that has integrity in its own right, and that will thrive in a greater, broader world context. The solution is in re-energizing a spiritual base that is founded in the earth wisdom of indigenous peoples. From this foundation, a structure can be created that networks across boundaries to create a new personal growth paradigm in the community that comes from the very root of the people it serves, not some external source.