Black Mesa Permaculture Project
sol3az at igc.apc.org
Sun Jul 7 14:12:37 EDT 1996
Greetings from the Sonoran Desert!
Sorry we couldn't get back before this. People have
been traveling. But here is a short report on the Black
Mesa Permaculture Project workshop that ran on the
Navajo land in Arizona.
BMPP 5TH ANNUAL WORKSHOP P MAY 25TH TO JUNE 2ND, 1996
Each year, the workshop gets better and our outreach
more diverse. This year, our fifth, we had attendees
from the Yaqui Reservation in southern Arizona, Lakota
Sioux from South Dakota, A member of the Traditional
Native American Farmers' Association (TNAFA), as well as
local Dineh from the Navajo Reservation. In addition,
students included people involved in projects with
indigenous people in South Africa and Israel/Palestine.
Other attendees came from as far west and east as Hawaii
BMPP took a big step forward in 1996. We will be doing
follow-up work with the Sioux folks. Justin Willy, our
lead instructor, has already traveled to South Dakota as
a consultant with them. He will also be helping the
TNAFA, an emerging Indigenous agricultural network, at
their permaculture workshop in New Mexico (July 22 -
August 2). More details from them at (505) 983-2172.
We have also discussed future projects with the San
Carlos Apache in Arizona, and our work continues with
the Shoshone in Nevada.
The course had its best year financially as well. Even
with the low fee ($250), we were able to finance the
scholarships of all the Indigenous attendees, cover
material and travel expenses with enough of a surplus to
help with supplies and vehicle maintenance for other
summer projects. Since our motive is not profit, a
little money can go a long way.
We added two new instructors this year and now have
four. Wayne O'Daniel, a local Dineh (Navajo), is trying
to integrate permaculture with traditional farming
practices, and will be available at his homesite to
accommodate interested people who would like to come and
work and learn and teach. Henry Soto also taught, and
will continue to be part of our team. He practices
organic gardening, as well as collecting and
disseminating native seed stocks with the nonprofit
Native Seeds Search, which specializes in gathering and
distributing the heritage seeds of the American
Southwest. They joined Justin Willy and Dan Dorsey (our
token white male!). We lost George Crittenden, a
Cherokee Indian, to California, but we are still in
touch and look forward to his future participation.
Perhaps the most rewarding experience for all of us was
the hug and thanks from our students. The Workshop
takes place in remote reservation areas and provides a
unique cultural as well as a learning experience. Our
focus on making the course culturally comfortable for
Native People sets a tone or ambiance that folk attuned
to such things appreciate.
We are also testing the breeze for another workshop in
the Fall. Groups and individuals interested in
participating with work crews throughout the year should
get in touch with us. We do not have paid internships,
but can provide room and board, primitive as it is, and
are willing to cooperate if you have a scholastic plan.
Also please inform those of your readers who contacted
us that we are sorry that we were not able to get back
to all of them. Clerical stuff is our weakness, but we
are still here, still interested, and hopefully better
able to address their needs. We would also be willing
to collaborate on a more in-depth article for a future
P.S. Our EcoNet and Internet outreach was well
worthwhile, with friends appearing all over the world to
list us on Web sites and lists (such as yourselves), and to ask
about the workshop via email. Truly a virtual community
that has its roots firmly planted in the Earth.
Justin Willy, P.O.B. 5350, Leupp, AZ 86035, USA. Tel:
(520) 526-6680 (Messages).
Jack Strasburg, 825 S. 'E' Street, Oxenard, CA 93030,
USA. Tel: (805) 486-1551.
David Fuller, Email: sol3az at igc.apc.org, Tel/Fax: (520)
More information about the permaculture