Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Sacred Activism – Defending the Land and Water

Sacred Activism – Defending the Land and Water


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Course dates: 
Monday, 24 April, 2017 to Friday, 28 April, 2017

With Tiokasin Ghosthorse and Pat McCabe

In collaboration with:



Recent events on the world stage have left many of us feeling that we living in a post-Truth world that is making less and less sense. It can be a challenge to know how to respond.

Our political systems seem broken. Fear, racism and misogyny are heightened, poverty and economic polarisation are escalating, and there are more refugees and migrants displaced from their homes than we have ever seen before. Consumerism has the world in its grip and the destruction of Earth continues unabated. And we are still being asked to pretend it is ‘business as usual’. 

At this moment in time, we seem to have two realities living side by side. On the one side, a growing movement for social change and environmental balancing, visible all around us, is giving birth to many new ways of living and organising based on the principle of interdependence. Simultaneously, elsewhere in society, sentiments are rising that reject multiculturalism, retreat from connectedness and are generating disturbing political divisions, isolationism and fear.  

Pope Francis in his encyclical described the ‘cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor’ as the fundamental challenges of our times. We see this as a call to action.

Where do we each fit into this?  What should be our response?  How do we live in a challenging new landscape and act with integrity?  What contribution can we make to protecting what is most sacred?

This is the first week of our Sacred Activism Intensive and can be taken as a one-week short course. Our guest contributors will be Tiokasin Ghosthorse and Pat McCabe from the Lakota and Dine traditions of North America. Through the lens of their own tradition and experience as activists, they will be considering what is meant by ‘sacred activism’, how it differs from other types of action we might take in the world, how we foster and sustain it and to where does it lead. We will be taking the recent events at Standing Rock as our case study for the week, in which both Tiokasin and Pat have been heavily involved.
During this week you will be enquiring alongside postgraduate students and other participants enrolled on the 3 week intensive. You can expect teaching, discussion, experiential practice outdoors, ritual and ceremony. It will take place in the elegant surroundings of Dartington Hall’s Elmhirst Centre, Schumacher College’s second venue.


Tiokasin Ghosthorse

Tiokasin Ghosthorse is a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota. He is an international speaker on Peace, Indigenous and Mother Earth perspective. A survivor of the “Reign of Terror” from 1972 to 1976 on the Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River and Rosebud Lakota Reservations in South Dakota and the US Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding and Church Missionary School systems designed to “kill the Indian and save the man,” Tiokasin has a long history of Indigenous activism and advocacy. He is a guest faculty member at Yale University’s School of Divinity, Ecology and Forestry focusing on the cosmology, diversity and perspectives on the relational/egalitarian vs. rational/hierarchal thinking processes of Western society.

Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining)

Woman Stands Shining, Pat McCabe, has the honor of being of the Dine (Navajo) Nation. A Life-Bringer, Life-Bearer Mother, writer, artist, activist, speaker and cultural liason, her work is driven by the study of the Science of Right Relations. Moving from the central knowledge that We, The Five-Fingered-Ones, are born into Beauty, as Beauty, for Joyful Life, she brings the understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing into discussion and inquiry on Sustainability. Born to a People who have deep understanding and methodology for Restoration, she carries the Beauty Way into places where it has formerly been kept out. She 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, Inner Circle Invitee to the Language of Spirit Dialogue - Dialogue between Quantum Physicists, Linguists, Scientists and Indigenous knowledge keepers. Upcoming work includes the AUM National gathering, Women's teachings In Chile, and work with Israeli and Palestinian women.

£ 795.00
Course fees include all meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday to Friday afternoon and includes four nights private accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure. This course is expected to be based in the elegant surrounds of the Elmhirst Centre at Dartington Hall. We recommend attending this course as a fully residential participant however for you may choose to book as a non-residential participant. Please call 01803 847237 for more details.