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Becoming Indigenous – Finding Our Way Home

Becoming Indigenous
£ 8 214.00
Fee £ 8214 fully residential / £ 4954 non-residential. Fee Includes comfortable accommodation, all meal, tuition, materials and field trips.

Convened by Colin Campbell, Pat McCabe and Mac Macartney

With Special Guests Atossa Soltani, Drew Dellinger, Bill Plotkin, Loretta Afraid of Bear Cook, Martin Shaw, Lucy Hinton and many more to be confirmed

4 month residential: 7 September to 20 December 2015

Supervised personal research and mentoring: December to July 2016

One week 'Coming Home' residential: 11 - 17 July 2016

Hiraeth: a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.

What does it mean to really belong to a place, a community, an ecosystem?

So much of the way that ‘modern life’ is lived is displaced from the land, other people and the living beings around us. Modern culture is one of movement, competition, isolation and consumerism and along the way many people have become resigned to the loss of home - somewhere we truly feel we belong.  Deep down we feel the hiraeth and yet don’t know where this feeling of sadness comes from or how to heal it. We search for relief amongst the things that have caused us disconnection from our place and catch only glimpses of a different way to be, a way of magic and mystery and wildness and soul; a way that perhaps we have somehow lost and long to return to.

One place in which modern culture looks to learn about true connection is the indigenous traditions that remain on our planet – timeless ways of living that honour the relations between ourselves, the creatures and the land around us. These traditions seem to hold a sense of spirit central to a harmonious way of being on the planet that has been somehow displaced in the West. And yet, so much ‘difference’ now exists between the two cultures, so much grief is held by so many for the abuses and disrespect of the past and present. How do we begin to bridge the gap in order that we can learn from each other? How can we find the common ground that makes us all indigenous once again to Planet Earth? How can we all find our way home regardless of the culture, lineage, beliefs and place that we find ourselves within.

This programme is a deep journey into the question of what it means to be indigenous and how it feels to come home. Once in the place of home, connected to our birth-rite of place and community and belonging, how do we act in the world to create change and help others find the way?

We bring together teachers, thinkers, elders, ceremonialists from both western and indigenous cultures to consider what it means to be indigenous in the 21st Century.

How do we heal the grief of the past, how do we stop the abuses of the present, what knowledge and wisdom can we share, how can we move forward into a world together and what part can each of us play in making this world a home for all.

Programme Structure

The programme will have two residential components separated by a period of private research, mentorship and online sharing. The first residential will be for four months during which participants will be resident at Higher Close Dartington Hall and attending sessions in Schumacher College’s Elmhirst Centre. The second residential week will be a final sharing and homecoming ceremony in the same location.

The 4 month residential component will consist of a series of short courses running from Monday lunch to Friday lunch. Your journey through these short courses will be facilitated and there will be additional sessions outside of the set courses for group discussion and personal reflection. Where possible we will arrange 1:1 or small tutorial times with the convenors and visiting teachers. There will also be an element of 'apprenticeship' as the teachers will pass on information on how you can run similar processes and ceremonies in your life and work. 

Visiting Teachers

Each module will include week-long courses or shorter workshops hosted by visiting teachers to Schumacher College that will include indigenous elders and spokespeople, many of whom do not regularly teach outside of their own countries. We will also be using video footage of private interviews taken during the Findhorn Foundations New Story Summit. 

As part of the course we will be planning a series of events and ceremonies that will be open to the general public and some of the taught material will be recorded for wider publication.

Programme Content

The programme will be a rich mix of ceremony, celebration, joint exploration, taught learning, private research and creative expression. We will be learning from the land, each other and our own personal stories of the past and future. This will be a personal and a group adventure that will lead to both the transformation of each and every participant and will build and develop the knowledge and wisdom in this subject area.

It will be convened by three programme leaders each expert in indigenous wisdom in different traditions, each leading a month-long module. They will be joined during their module by guest contributors who will run week-long short courses and workshops. We will also be using video material from attendees interviewed at the recent New Story Summit at the Findhorn Foundation.

During the online part of this programme you will be encouraged to choose a project in your place and community under the mentorship of one of the teachers identified in the residential component of the programme. This will not be examined or accredited in any way and so is for your benefit alone. The residential ‘Coming Home’ week at the end of the programme is an opportunity to share your project experience with the group. During this time there will also be regular skype sessions with the group and video content and teaching sessions made available.

Module 1: Ways of Being, September

Convened by Colin Campbell

Colin Campbell grew up in rural southeastern Botswana, the son of a renowned anthropologist and a creative healing mother. He is currently a practitioner of traditional African medicine, based in Cape Town, South Africa and the UK. He receives clients from all over the world, and facilitates international group processes relating to natural law, transformation, healing & personal power, sacred sites, and cross-cultural cosmology.

His work bridges major world cities with ancestral homelands and forgotten wilderness, taking him from the Amazon Basin to Los Angeles, the sacred sites of Venda to the urban grit of Johannesburg, and remote Ethiopia to the City of London. Colin co-founded and co-runs a training school in Botswana for traditional doctors and sangomas with his brother Niall Campbell. He is also a lifelong artist and musician, his style once again bridging the traditional with the contemporary, the timeless with the timely, and the sounds of the sacred with the lyricism of electric rocking funk.

7 - 11 September 
With Bill Plotkin and Geneen Marie Haugen
Coming Home to an Animate World

14 - 18 September
With Colin Campbell (South Africa)
An Indigenous Worldview - Four Nations of Ancestors 

21 - 25 September 
With Drew Dellinger and Martin Shaw
A Cosmology of Connection 

28 September - 2 October
With Colin Campbell, Lucy Hinton and special guests
The Bones of Ritual

Module 2: Ways of Knowing, October/November

Convened by Pat McCabe

Woman Stands Shining, Pat McCabe, has the honour of being of the Dine (Navajo) Nation. She brings the understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing into discussion and inquiry on Sustainability. She carries the foundation of Beauty and Spirit into places where it has formerly been kept out. Pat is an active participant in Indigenous Peoples gatherings worldwide most recently in Chile, Belgium, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and Bali.

She has worked with the International Center for Cultural Studies in India and with Sarvodaya with Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne in Sri Lanka, as well as with organizations and gatherings in the U.S. Her recent work includes being a cultural consultant to the Pachamama Alliance, presenting at the 2013 National Bioneers Conference, and presenting on “The Feminine Design and Sustainability” in the U.S. and Internationally.


5 - 9 October      
To be confirmed

12 - 16 October
To be confirmed

19 – 23 October
Bayo Akomalafe and Ej Clement-Akomolafe (Africa)
Health and Wellbeing - Through Nature, Ritual and Community

26 October - 6 November
Pat McCabe and Mac Macartney (North America)
Five-Fingered Ways Of Knowing-Beyond Intellect Into Relationship

Module 3: Ways of Being, November/December

Convened by Mac Macartney

Mac Macartney is an international speaker, writer and change-maker. He is also the founder of Embercombe, the centre for leadership and learning with a mission to catalyse the emergence of leaders and change-makers for a just, peaceful and sustainable future. Over a period of twenty years Mac was mentored by a group of indigenous elders. During this training and ever since, he has attempted to bring two worlds together – an ancient world-view that emphasises relationship, interdependence, and reverence for life with the significant challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century. Mac works with leaders across all walks of life – from business to education – inspiring them to put up their hand and join the chorus of people who are singing alive the world of our longing. He was a faculty member of the WWF/IMD Business School ‘One Planet Leaders’ programme in Lausanne for three years and received an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Plymouth University for his work in service to community.

In 2016 Mac co-founded Liquid School, a network of experts helping organisations imagine a sustainable future. He sits on the Advisory Board for DanoneWave, the largest Public Benefit Corporation in the U.S. and is an Associate with Leaders’ Quest, collaborating on global issues with leaders across business, government and civil society.

9 - 13 November
Mac Macartney, Loretta Afraid of Bear Cook and Linda Lorimer
Creating Indigenous Ceremony

16 – 20 November 
Atossa Soltani and Lewis Fox
Our Indigenous Story - Mapping and Re-Telling World Narratives

23 - 27 November
Atossa Soltani and special guests (South America)
Indigenous Activism

30 November - 4 December
Carolyn Hillyer and guests (England)
An Indigenous Worldview

7 – 11 December
Mac Mccartney
The Journey at Embercombe

14 - 18 December
Council Week/Reading Week

If you would like to book onto one of our short courses, you will need to create an account. This is a simple process of choosing a username, email address and password. Once you have created an account you will receive a verification email. Please click on the verification link within to have full access to the site and to make your booking. (You may need to  check your spam folder if you do not see this email.)  We will email you confirmation of your payment and any further communication about your course application.

Residential accommodation for "Changing the Frame"  is at Higher Close, a 20 minute walk from Schumacher College. All meals will be provided at the college.

A place can not be guaranteed unless we receive your deposit or payment on your chosen course. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please do this before making your course application.

Short Course Bursaries create an opportunity for an individual to experience the powerful transformative learning by joining a course that assists the participant to inspire their wider community and benefits from the participant’s own unique contribution. It is our hope that our bursaries support a wide cross section of participation on our short course programme. The number of bursaries available is limited, competition is strong and funding is not always available for every short course. Please be aware that most bursaries are in the region of 10% – 20% of the course fee so please be prepared to raise funding from other sources.  A bursary award is not intended to cover travel or incidental expenses.

Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis and we are unable to enter into discussions on any decisions. We generally have many more applications for bursaries than we have funding available. We can only offer one bursary per person per year and priority is given to those who have not attended the college or received a bursary before. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a bursary.

How to apply for a bursary

NB: Please do not pay your deposit for the course yet. Any applications received where a deposit has been paid will be rejected and the deposit refunded.

Six weeks before the course is due to start all bursary applications will be considered and responded to.  If successful you will be required to accept our Bursary Terms and Conditions.

Please answer the following:

  1. What does a bursary mean to you?
  2. How will your attendance on this course benefit the wider community?
  3. If your financial situation justifies you applying for a bursary, how much are you able to contribute towards attending this course?

Please be prepared to supply an appropriate reference in support of your application.

More about our growing areas and philosophy

We follow ecological cycles as much as possible. Much of the food is grown in the five and half acre agroforestry field – in a system of alley cropping and in the developing forest garden. The field also has fruit trees and bushes; young nut trees; a flock of pasture fed poultry; two wild life ponds, a craft and pollinator garden and a hazel and willow coppice.

Other areas include two herb gardens; four polytunnels; a perennial no dig vegetable garden and several fruit areas. We compost our garden and kitchen waste for use on site, and use green manures for fertility building.

Our students find their time engaging with food growing, and all it entails, a truly transformative time.   Our gardens are as much about nurturing people as plants, and hundreds of students have found the contact with the land and soil to be a rich learning journey.

Integral to the College’s international learning community, you will get to know students, staff and volunteers through daily meetings and shared activities. There is also a diverse programme of events and evening talks, offered by college residents, visiting teachers and local experts.