Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Yearlong Student's Account of the Teaching Drum Outdoor School

One of the members of the Come-Apart Class of 2002 gives a brief glimpse into the realities of the Yearlong.
What went so wrong? Well, it would probably take a novel to lay out all the details, but I think I can sum it up best just like this: Tamarack asks for truthspeaking, seems to listen intently, and then does absolutely zip except blame the truthspeakers for the problem. This first became apparent when both camps began experiencing food shortages in the first month of the program. T. was more than happy to have as many Talking Circles about the problem as your heart could desire, but no matter how much we talked, he refused to take any concrete steps to solve the chronic shortages and missed food drops, nor would he take any suggestions on what could be done to end the problems. Finally, both camps agreed that those who possessed vehicles would go into the school every three days to pick up our food as no one at the house could be relied upon to consistently and adequately supply us. This did not change until _______ came onboard in September. I think he was taken aback by how grateful we were to finally have some real help with the food.

As for T.'s "guidance" it basically comes down to this: stay in the house all day and write, take the writing to the camps, stay for an hour to discuss the last writing handed out at the last visit, leave, do more writing, repeat. Well, I don't know about your perceptions, but as a role model, T. makes an excellent example for would-be writers, but he does not make a good example for people longing to live interdependently in the non-symbolic world of Nature.

A number of times, the two camps reached consensus on our desire to see T. spend more time actually living the lifeway he proclaims by being physically on site for extended periods of time so that we could model his Old Way behavior. That is my understanding of the way the Native Elders taught, and still do teach, their young people - by living example. Do you know I have never even seen T. build a fire? Come to think of it, I have never seen T. actually do any of the skills he proposes to teach. When both camps expressed our desire to see him spend more time modeling the lifeway on site with us, he refused.

And I don't even want to get into the simplistic contempt T. expressed privately to me for the present-day struggles Native peoples of this continent are facing. It is just too painful.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is how it has always been. It was the reason for the destruction of his first community attempt in Pembine (that's another story Dan does not want out--that thing ended in a really ugly, ugly way) and it was reason we left in the first wave several years ago. He has never and will not ever actually live the life he espouses. He leaves that work to others...and sits in his house and writes. Promises, emotional abuse, criticism...the real "old way." Funny...we always knew when he was writing a chapter on something because he would actually go and do it for the first time. Lots of funny stories...all true.

12/04/2010 10:27 PM  

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