Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Power of Return- Dark Mountain

The following essay originally appeared in Dark Mountain. Thanks to Nick Hunt and the editors.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Power of Return

We saw that you can see and face what you’ve done and are doing,  America. Perhaps for the first time. 
The Smithsonian returned, on loan, for the 150th commemoration of the state of Nebraska, ‘items’ or belongings which were picked from the bodies and from the village following General Harney ‘the  butcher’s’ punitive attack on Little Thunder’s peaceful village in September 1855. Official sanitised reports claim 86 people killed, half of them women and children, when 600 cavalry descended upon a village of 250 at five in the morning. Contemporary archaeologists put the estimate closer to 130. Many people had run to find themselves surrounded in a ‘pincer’ manoeuvre and hid in caves along the Blue Water Creek. Dragoons fired into the caves and Harney ordered them collapsed. This butchery went on for hours. 
Survivors, some mortally wounded,  were marched by their aggressors and captors, ten miles South to Harney’s staging post at Ash Hollow, where we were this past weekend, a place of water and abundance popular with the pioneers and settlers moving West on the Oregon Trail. 

I stood with an archaeologist and they looked up at the cliffs and explained to me how the landslides below weren’t naturally occurring. It’s highly likely that bodies were piled there and the loose cliffs were collapsed to bury and hide the extent of the atrocity. 
The living and the dead have an intimate pact. 
Settler descended residents of the town of Lewellen spoke of childhood memories of surprise at looking in the mirror and seeing pale skin. The land whispered and the strong and compassionate ones heard. They sought the descendants of Little Thunder, who was wounded and survived the massacre. A process of healing was initiated and a cache of dozens stolen ‘artefacts’ was remembered in a drawer in Washington. Members of the Little Thunder family asked for the Smithsonian to return what was taken and they were agreed to be retuned on loan, but for the State of Nebraska’s signature event and to be placed on display in a case in the museum at Ash Hollow. A doll taken from a little girl, a pair of moccasins, a bag. It was also agreed that these ‘items’ would be in ceremony before public display with involved families. I had the honour to be invited to and participate in this ceremony, but I never looked at the belongings, even though they were on display all weekend; I couldn’t find my place in something which feels so intimate and raw. Gawking feels inappropriate. 
There is a Lakota word ‘wokinktuza’ (forgive the spelling) which means something like forgiveness. I saw and heard descendants of Little Thunder with that power and I saw that as example of a way to be human. Then I thought about the culture of America and how, now, after this unprecedented occasion, it is gathering the spiritual strength to have a good look at itself and it’s foundation. We can turn it’s military might into spiritual strength for a force for good in the world. The government will catch up but it’s led by the people. We’ve seen how Settler Colonialism has laid waste to vast tracts of land, rendered rivers undrinkable, turned what was, actually paradise- into hell, all in the name of progress. But now it’s going forward to our Indigenous Knowing, as it was and supposed to be. Now we’re remembering Original Instruction. 
Spirits of bloodstained belongings of the past are finding peace and restitution. This is rippling through to the present. The people dance and sing on the drum with remembrance and celebration and we're reminded that those forgotten and lost smile and find a way. 

Epigenetics is a scientific way of studying historical and ancestral trauma. Healing occurs for those victimised  and for the victimisers, whose spirits also know no peace. For the individual and the collective. The USA is founded on untold genocide and in order to continue avoiding facing this fact it looks outward with hidden and suppressed shame and pain, inflicting the only thing it knows on the rest of the world. Invade and colonise. Hidden behind abstract and unconnected rhetorical concepts like ‘freedom’ and ‘progress’ and inflicted upon the meek. Then exploit and profit the land and ‘resources’ of those places at the expense of the locals, historically indigenous, in a world where there is more than enough of everything for everyone. 
We are coming to the end, one way or another, of this cycle of violence. Everything will and has to be returned to where it’s supposed to be. It begins with the loan of family belongings and continues to place, land. Everything has to return. Wh have to have the strength and find the power to carry this through. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Year of Displacement

They tore us from our home
And we fell
Onto the earth
And we discovered that we were here all along.
So we pitched our lodge, lit the fire and made a nice cup of tea, cooked some dinner and sat down as a family.
Circling the hearth. 

Summer land and winter land continue now, indifferent and untended, set aside by conservationists and Eco-villageists. We continue as a displaced culture. Currently 1:5 of the population of the planet are displaced.

We discovered there was new life on the way. New and small and delicate life, to be kept secret and hidden. 

Then Brooks Newton, owner of Hidden Springs Wellness Center and founder of Seven Generations eco-village set the sheriff on my family and I, when we were living at the traditional Winter Spot. 

"I was angry with my friend
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe
I told it not, my wrath did grow."

-W Blake

came to understand myself and my oppressors as an expression of 'place'. Not just a physical place, piece of land, but an expression of place in time. A constellation. But it's not like it's like that just for the families, couples and individuals of Tipi Village, or these circumstances, it's like that for all of us. We are individuated expressions of a collective. There was no other option for things to become what they became. We were never going to become unwoven, after all that infused life shared. We frothed out of that place, a natural process, like all of the other life; oaks, firs, ants, skinks, deer, grass, mycelium. Nothing more than an expression of Place. The new land title holders seemed to take offence to this in a way that they didn't with all of the other things growing and living there. Not just because they tore us from our place for no reason other than their lawyer put the fear of law into them, but the subsequent blame and vilification that we mostly got to hear about second and third hand as political spin. It's understandable because without such there would have to be an admission of some wrongdoing. These people are life coaches, chiropractors, relationship counsellors, yoga teachers and the like and appear publicly as almost saintly. We've had no direct communication since that time. I think they understood our way of living as a 'lifestyle choice', because that's how they understand their world; it's all choice and it's all lifestyle. It's an attitude of the privileged. "You could have gone and gotten a job at McDonalds and social housing" was the retort recently with a mutual friend,"No," I said,"That's not an option any more, look outside, look at the world, socially and ecologically. Why would I contribute to that when, unhindered, I know how to shelter and feed myself and my family in a good way." Why would I put my children through the fallacy of 'lifestyle choice' when their life is essential, direct, on the ground around the fire and has been since they were born? Would one say the deer exercise 'lifestyle choice'?

So as an expression of place, that place said, in a human voice,

= An Eco-Village with a name co-opted from the Iroquois Confederacy which, it turns out, had no consideration for one generation, let alone seven:

In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all of your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground- the unborn of the future Nation.”

That time passed.

We moved deeper into the woods adjacent to the place from where we were arrested. Hidden and safe. Life still growing in Kayla. January and cold and wet, though not much snow. With tipi orders to fill we pitched the shop on a level open spot on the 'wrong' side of the fence for the new title holders. 

They made us take it down, I think because they weren't trusting us, or life and it's process. They called us 'a booger you can't get rid of' behind our backs and then accused me of name-calling when I opened an email with “Dear Good King Rod”. But then this gave them legitimate reason to eschew communication because we weren't being civilised, because we were 'too upset' and 'angry'. An illustration of a culture that maintains social control through condescension. I have never been upset, angry or even civilised enough to send armed agents to deal with my problems.

Will you hold me,

Will you hold with me that moment
When you picked up your phone
In your very nice house
And spoke those words
Of love and betrayal

Did you cry
More or less
Than I
Than the men who came after your call
Your knights dressed in black and weapons of suppression
And deniable oppression
Who peered through my doorway
Into my home
Upon a family of six
Upon a living breakfast hearth
Excused because it's his job
He's following orders
And he has to pay the rent
And feed his family

Are you excused,
Did you have to pay the rent?
Did you have to feed your family?

Hold these moments with me,
Moments now engrained with my being

Hold the moment when you cried with us
In the sacred circle
And we opened to you
And you said:
We call it Seven Generations because we want to be living as you do, in seven generations”
We believed you
Do you believe you? 

Just hold me,
Hold our children, please
Tell them, cry with them
When they ask you, and they will
And quench your unquenchable tears
On that co-opted phrase
Seven generations starts now
I am so sorry
What have I done?
What can I do?

Hold Rod with me,
Hold these words,
You can go ahead and tell Steve that we can pay ten thousand more and close within seven days”
Hold Kayla in the crown of our home
Facing off the sheriffs
Standing for interwoven place
First Generation
Backed by our strong allies

Hold that moment when we were fresh from filing the lawsuit 
For the right to be entitled
And we saw you
And ran up to you
With the excitement of children
And you were shopping for shoes
Just hold that
For one moment

The moment we heard you were both going on another vacation
So we called Rod
And he reneged

Hold the thousand dollars
The court now demands from us
Because of those actions

Hold that because
My bank account has 
Eighty six dollars and thirteen cents
How much does yours have?

Was it hard for you,
Or was it your most convenient option?
Was it harder to maintain a respectful dialogue
To sit up until four in the morning
Working out the future of our 
To stretch beyond the comfort zone of
relationships defined by
Was it hard to consider
The uterine generation
Then, too, imprisoned by your hand

Or will it be easier to acknowledge
The worthiness
Of a larger,

A reality exciting, new and unknown
Still present and forgiving
Still accessible.

We went and pitched the shop in Drew's yard and started working on orders. A couple of tipis and linings and a Baker tent. Drew lived over the hill in the ranch buildings on Buckhorn Road, still part of the same Mosby ranch, turned out to be five square miles, not 1600 acres as previously stated here, now entitled to Rod and Brooks's pet project.

 Drew runs sled dogs and arrived in the Buckhorn Valley shortly after we did, down from Alaska. He had a lease on his plot which is why he could invite us there. We started parking at the ranch buildings and it was a lovely walk up the hill from Drew's barn to our lodge, even in the sleet late in the evening on the way home from a town visit. It was lovely because the world is and I remember crying on occasion, making that walk. Sometimes we would sing,"Come on family, we do not walk alone. We can walk together as we sing the spirit song." Drew belongs on the old frontier in the libertarian sense, more as a trapper than a homesteader with Manifest Destiny entitlement. Sometimes we'd see him careening past our lodge, pulled by his dogs on his mountain bike. He had a relationship with Rod Newton as he had helped him when Hidden Springs Wellness Center was fighting AT&T to stop them erecting a cell phone tower nearby their centre in town. He had also informed Rod that the title to the ranch was available. This didn't save him from eviction orders.

In retrospect, I think as a family we were a bit traumatised from the experience of arrest and displacement. It was winter and we were pregnant so we took a trip up to the school district maintenance yard in Eugene and took one of their old buses. A good deal on a 1987 Chevy Bluebird with an 8.2l Detroit Diesel engine and an Alison standard transmission. 

We removed the seats (the bit between the seats and the walls had 28 years worth of schoolchild detritus, sometimes a bit kind of oozey, sometimes hairy), gave it a good wash and furnished it with a floor, walls, bunk beds, a wood stove and other bits of furniture. Mostly re-purposed and up-cycled from around and using good old hand tools. The Yankee screwdriver came in splendidly useful. 

We eventually pitched our lodge by the barn so that we could work on the bus. Proper nomad style it was, desolate and empty buildings lashed by horizontal rain with a small contingency of cosy mobile dwellings inhabited by the remaining people of the community.

 The bus has, so far, brought us closer to the road but we're still tipi snobs. The bus also provides the ability for us to carry several sets of poles (including the Big Lodge), our lodge and Rogue Dwellings' shop. Navigating these rapids of life, the bus was later likened to a barrel, like one of those in which people go over Niagara Falls. It helps with all kinds of displacement, being an eco-village/conservation refugee but best of all the migratory nature of our living.

Clusters of self-conscious, prius-driving, blue polyester Patagonia wearing, clipboard-wielding eco-villagists would walk by, surveying their potential and we'd all be there, in our homes, casually observing. Mostly we wouldn't let them get away with their inane grinning indifference and we'd attempt engagement. Usually they were in a hurry and had to leave, almost as soon as they came, with valid excuses. Sometimes it would get a bit too raw and real and they would dismissively and fearfully beat a hasty but nonchalant retreat. I do recall myself shouting after James Haim and Melanie Mindlin one time, “Go on, run away- keep running!” -Loud raspberry sound-,”I fart in your general direction!”... It was one of those moments when we could have all fallen into a big laugh but they appeared horrified at this 'angry' Englishman calling obscenities and scurried off. Still too much to ask and not enough compromise. 

Drew left north to run his dogs in the snow and we were three lodges in the yard, the buildings barren and empty, with various random people coming and going, picking up the left- over pieces of Drew's presence.

One of the local 'free' papers, in which Hidden Springs runs an ad wrote an article about us. It was basically a review of our blog and an interview with Jim Haim. We were not contacted for interview or comment which surprised some who asked us about it. Jim later denied any involvement with the article. There were a couple of points that were defamatory, one that our 'lifestyle' is supported by this blog- all money raised is still being held by the Way foundation except for what we used to pay the lawyer and printing costs for Hearth Tidings etc. And this point about the 'central disagreement' over the 'belief' in land 'ownership'. One can own a piece of paper stating title to land, thereby giving one entitlement to the use and abuse of land and it's inhabitants under a given paradigm but it is plainly a false premise. One does not eat, breath, drink or is supported by those pieces of paper yet all the land supports us all. All the time. There are ways of working with the county planning department; they are receptive and curious. We could become a private campground, one of numerous ideas. There was no mention in the article of the better part of a decade calling this place home for dozens of people, men, women and, most notably omitted from the article, children. It's a shame that the article stayed at the level of ideology and spin, defining Kayla and I as the Land Liberation Project and Seven Generations Village as the Land Stewardship Project- a new name picked when publicity began. Rod's last phone call to me was just over a year ago. He was telling me that we should change the name of Land Liberation to 'regeneration'. He offered to mentor me in exchange for participation in the sweat lodge. I didn't decline his offer but I reminded him that the sweat lodge, prayer, is not for sale and is for all. The central difference between us and our adversaries is that we're not telling them where not to live.

Jim Haim and Greg Carey came by once, to see us rather than avoid us, but with a piece of paper from the county about our dwellings and their 'illegality'.*

*Living nomadically in tipis in the woods is, apparently, 'illegal' in Jackson County since the millionaires in their splendid house in the Soda Mountain wilderness hired “the best land use attorney in the valley” to re-interpret the county code to make it so. Now, in steps the incoming millionaires who live in a splendid house in town, with multimillionaire investors to pay money for title to five square miles of Buckhorn Valley. Apparently they are also using “the best land use attorney in the valley”. Furthermore, the millionaires in the valley are going to want to be on good terms with the millionaires on the mountain because they have to have their project be a success. Millionaires on the mountain are notorious for complaining to the county about building codes. They have another splendid house in LA where they spend much of their time. Also, the millionaires on the mountain bought title to the place where we used to summer and it has valuable transferable building permits. We got caught up in the middle of some kind of millionaire land grab. Millionaire in the valley, on one of his influential phone calls to Kim, Kayla's mother, which Kayla and I heard after being released from gaol that fateful December night suggested that Kayla and I "go after" millionaires on the mountain, because “They are a much better example of the 1% than we are”. I don't know anything about percentages but apparently Mrs Millionaire in the Valley inherited from the Wriggley's Corporation. We've been shafted by millionaires all over the place. I think it's because we challenge what gives them power and we know that fiscal conservatism is contrary to social liberalism because of the unequal and unfair (and unsustainable) power structure that it perpetuates. Both sets of millionaires would probably consider themselves liberals. Questioning such power in such a way, perhaps, exposes that hypocrisy. Their notion of 'Democracy' belongs to those who have the privilege to be in a position to pay money for it. The land endures and holds all of us, whether we realise this or not.

So we dance,
Sword dance,
And we learn to be skilful and sometimes we stumble but their swords are dull and lifeless and we still dance barefoot.

Anyway, there's Jim and Greg telling us that we have to go right away or they are going to get fined by the planning department. We tell them that we're working on the bus and doing all that we can to improve the situation, we're not staying in Drew's yard, a time and place we later called the Refugee Camp. Jim tells us that if we pay the delinquent rent then it can all go away. We tell him that is an example of extortion and land held by the sword. He calls us name-callers etc. etc...Jim rents out houses in town and is a rent collector.

A couple of days later some private detective comes around trying to tape a piece of paper on our lodge, fumbling and nervous as Kayla and the kids observe. The paper doesn't stay in the wind and he picks it up from the ground, Kayla telling him that Drew (to whom it addresses) doesn't live in this tipi, best try the empty house. He posts it there and it's from the office of "the best land use attorney in the valley" giving us 24 hour notice to vacate the premises.

Then Jim comes around with a surly minder and a piece of paper for us to sign stating that we will be gone by midnight on March the 20th, equinox and that we will not return unless Rod and Brooks allow it. There are a few of us present when they come. The surly fellow, shaven head doesn't acknowledge us as he comes into our home until we override his indifference. I ask who he is and why he's here. I had the feeling that Jim was afraid of physical violence and brought his fear. He's some special friend of Jim's. We have some good conversation with the handful of Tipi Village participants and those two. For the first time, after being pressed, Jim acknowledges that they could have been more skilful with the situation. He says they had no choice and it was really hard for them. I propose that it was actually the most convenient option for them, hard would have been sitting in circle until four a.m. and finding consensus. He said they called the sheriff because it would have been weak for them to ask us to leave (puts on an effeminate voice,”please leave”). We agree, it would have and it was weak. Jim says we're trying to make out like we're some neo-indigenous displaced by some corporation (Seven Generations Village LLC). Hmmm, we say. We don't sign it because we're working on the bus, the barrel, and we have no intention to settle in Drew's yard anyway. “Perhaps you can make a paper aeroplane out of it” I suggest as Jim is stepping out of our lodge. He grimaces, or perhaps some kind of smile, and returns with, “Well, I didn't think you'd sign it.” 

By now it's April, the bus is cosy and we're hoping we're beyond the boundaries of contention, bimbling around and seeing what guidance presents. One of the nights we spend in town a cop comes by in the morning and tells us we can't sleep in our bus in town. We are kicked out of the woods and now we are kicked out of town. It's more risible than offensive. It illustrates a culture with only the capacity to accommodate a narrow band of conformity. Anyway, it's novel and we enjoy a little leisure time in town. We were keeping a connection to the sweat lodge, full and new moon, being an important ceremony.

Sometimes people ask,"So where are you guys living now?” and my answer, not really that facetious is usually something like,"On the ground around the fire.” With a bit of an apology. Through the experience of forced displacement we have discovered a much more holographic, multi-dimensional perception of the land, especially the Buckhorn Valley sweeping up to Soda Mountain, and this is beneficial.

The last communication we had with Rod or Brooks was published in a previous post on this blog. The last communication we had with Jim Haim was an email telling us to collect the Sweat Lodge things piled by the new gate on Carter Creek. Another new gate, especially for us, put up by moneyed people. Another multimillionaire Louise Gund happened by when we were in ceremony. She reluctantly shook my hand when I presented it with a welcoming hello. Really soft hands. Her money comes from the Gund teddy bear family. The Sweat Lodge site is adjacent to her fence and land to which she is entitled, all along Carter Creek. She had some notion that we were going to burn the woods down, even though it was spring and wet, woods that she believes should be free from fire and people. She lives somewhere in the San Francisco bay area, also in a splendid house. We said we'll put the fire out when we're done with it. She started complaining how dare we stop her doing what she wants to do and she took her little plastic water bottle and tried to put the fire out. It was easier to look on with bemusement than offence, even though we were cooking dinner for the kids on a little fire by the bus at that time, "Oh, your kids will be fine I'm sure" she scowled. She said that she's worked really hard to own that land, for the animals. I didn't tell her that I work really hard to not own land, for all beings. 

The final indignity was when I went to see if our youngest son's passport had arrived. We had been waiting for months for it after various delays and expecting it to our old mailbox. The new occupant of Drew's house, across the road from a rack of about three or four mailboxes fixed to a couple of old iron tractor wheels came walking over just as I was about to drive off (the passport had still not arrived). I got out of the van with curiosity and shook his hand,"I'm Ande" I said, 
"Oh, I know who you are. You should leave." I didn't recognise him but later realised it was Jim's surly minder, "You are trespassing" he continued, becoming more aggressive,
"I'm not trespassing, this is the public highway."
"You're going to have to make me"
"Leave or I'm calling the cops" 
"Go ahead and call the cops, I'm on the road, definitely not trespassing. Are you trying to intimidate me?" 
He made an eye rolley kind of sigh,"Be intimidated and fuck off" he said, turning away.
"Well, I'm not and you can fuck off." was the best I could come up with at that point. A few days later we receive a call from the mail carrier informing us that the new people had,"tore out the mailboxes".

Silken handed lawyers. Heirs and heiresses. Facile, leering estate agents, the world does not belong to you, it belongs to All of Us. Do you think you can have your land, separate from the rest of the planet, perhaps floating alone in space? Is it your air breezing through your trees? Your water flowing over your rocks? Your inevitable wildfire? Ask any psychologist if suppression is sustainable. And you! Do you think you can exist without the rest of humanity? Rich without poor? Do you really think that my loss is your gain?

We have entrusted the wellbeing of our world to the moneyed, for some reason, and it looks like they're making a mess of it. Well, they have made a mess of it. See if there's a gap between that rhetoric and the reality of a world about as geo-politically dystopian as it could be. Any worse would be apocalyptic, surely. Moneyed people, from my experience, are the least qualified to manage land and resources precisely because their relationship to such things is unfelt and indirect. Arvol Looking Horse, Oglala Lakota, nineteenth generation keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Bundle, whilst speaking at the World Peace and Prayer day said,”Mother Earth is not a resource; she is the source of life”. Moneyed people tend to know the price of everything yet the value of nothing. Those people know the price of permaculture (and the like) experts from far off continents yet are clueless to the value of the keystone inhabitants of a place. We can't continue to treat the source of life as a resource to be exploited. It's simply not sustainable. Fiscal conservatism is one of the main problems, socially and ecologically. It all comes down to unequal distribution of wealth destabilising a wholesome social structure in a distorted way. Greed and excess is celebrated. Generosity becomes a virtue instead of a fundamental.

I'll have my birthright, thanks very much, and I'll participate in our world under my own terms. You can keep your food stamps and dole money and paternalistic ways of compensation and coercion. I never signed a social contract of a diminished place with Great Mother. She deserves and requests no less than my full power. Reciprocated. Same as for all life here now.


Summer came and at solstice time we migrated back to the High Country with an intention to give birth. We found ourselves beyond man-made 'property' lines and began to understand more deeply that the land is already liberated.

We pitched our lodge and the shop and made an extra tipi as a Birthing Lodge. Also took care of some orders.

It was a quiet time with no Big Lodge and we were no more than four or so families. Our new daughter was born outside, under a White Fir tree. On Mother Earth and free. A few minutes after she had breathed her first breaths Kayla and I looked at each other and said,"Now What?".

The reality of badged uniformed armed officials came when the geese had started their Southerly thing. I have come to see them as an elemental force, or as a part of the fauna of a place. Geese and men. We had a good forty days post-partum. We struck and loaded everything into and on the bus and took to the road after delivering a tipi in the Illinois Valley. Travelling down Highway 1 along the rugged Pacific coast. We've been on the road for a couple of months at the time of publishing, travelling through worlds forgotten by families growing on the ground, sourcing our elements directly. 

Mostly I have an overwhelming feeling of sadness witnessing the pervasive ecological and social isolation endemic with the current version of industrialised society. I don't know how anyone could raise children in a good way in that world of compliance and 'nature deficient' indoctrination. It is probably possible but it seems that it's something only for the moneyed and indebted, and then it's disconnected- a 'lifestyle choice'. 

We left Highway One at Ventura, just above LA, with the sunset ocean still in our hair, eyes and between our toes. We managed to avoid LA proper, visited family in San Bernardino and childhood memories in Big Bear then swung North and spent some time in Death Valley at the hot springs. All along the way people would ask why we are a family of seven living in a school bus. We are displaced, we say and then try to tell the story, succinctly. We meet many displaced people along the way, not directly displaced by war, like the people flooding in to Europe, but people displaced by economics, living in cars, trying to find work and a sense of self respect. Out of our cultural context, on the ground around the fire, we are poor charity cases. During the pre-arrest contentious time, our adversaries suggested we take a year off. It took me a while to understand that the equivalent would be to ask a house dweller to take a year off. In our context our lives are affluent because our wants are few, contrary to the world of rent and finding a job to pay for that. I ask people about all of this busyness, when we're in town, is to pay the rent/ mortgage, right? Let's try a thought experiment; how would your day be different, today, were you not burdened by rent/ mortgage? All of that human effort, endeavour, compromise put in to paying rent- where does it go? "I know" is the reply most of the time,"But really, it's a question, where does all of that energy go?" "I know, really!". There's been no answer thus far and if you, reader, know, share it in the comments below. My best guess so far is it goes towards the war and to moneyed people.

Now we're stuck in snow in the North Sierra's, hanging out at the library- hence the chance to finish this blog post which has been in the works for months. Holding out for guidance and keeping the trip together. Thanks for reading, thanks for all of the emails and messages and keep them coming, hopefully we can respond to all of you one of these days, or better still share a cup of tea and a song or two around the hearth.



Thursday, September 24, 2015

With Only our Tongues for our Swords.

Rome never looks where she treads.   
   Always her heavy hooves fall   
On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;   
   And Rome never heeds when we bawl.   
Her sentries pass on—that is all,
   And we gather behind them in hordes,   
And plot to reconquer the Wall,
   With only our tongues for our swords.

We are the Little Folk—we!
   Too little to love or to hate.   
Leave us alone and you’ll see
   How we can drag down the State!
We are the worm in the wood!
   We are the rot at the root!   
We are the taint in the blood!
   We are the thorn in the foot!

Mistletoe killing an oak—
   Rats gnawing cables in two—
Moths making holes in a cloak—
   How they must love what they do!   
Yes—and we Little Folk too,
   We are busy as they—
Working our works out of view—
   Watch, and you’ll see it some day!

No indeed! We are not strong,
   But we know Peoples that are.   
Yes, and we’ll guide them along
   To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same?
   Yes, we have always been slaves,
But you—you will die of the shame,
   And then we shall dance on your graves!

Rudyard Kipling
(‘The Winged Hats’ —Puck of Pook’s Hill)

Take heart!
We are still here, families raising our children and living love on the ground around the fire, part of the wonder of the world. Still come and find us, internally or externally. There is no Big Lodge at the time of writing and the weather, law enforcement and geese remind us that it is the season to migrate. We participate in the world under our own terms. Industrialisation has no monopoly on the definition of 'modern'!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

World Turned Upside Down (Digger's Song)

World Turned Upside Down (Digger's Song) performed by members of the Family Blanchflower. The words resonate through the ages and provide a map for a way forward.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Story Through Letters

 We have been slow in sharing publicly the process that Tipi Village has been involved in with Rod and Brooks (the new Winter Grounds "land owners") and since we have, it is easy to see that we all could take a turn down the warfare path. The intention of this post is to help direct it towards the heart, towards love, towards honesty.

There is a place in me that holds Rod and Brooks with much love. I have, over the months since our relationship has developed, had glimpses of them as family. I am reminded of a sunny autumn day when Rod came by for a visit. Without a hello as if he was grandpa stopping by, he sat back in the air-chair, sequoia climbing into his lap and the two of them gently and quietly swinging and dozing off for a moment. The first time we all sat around the fire our hearts connected as the talking stick spiraled around and the connection grew as we shared more time together. Yes, I love Rod and Brooks. Strolling through a park, sitting on the ground in a circle in playground wood chips listening, speaking, holding hands.

These are not mere memories.
This is a story.

The storytellers are frothing out of this place, this land, and have done so for millennia.

Below is a long thread of email correspondences mainly between Rod, Brooks, Ande and Kayla interspersed with concerned fellow community members. The intention in sharing them here is to honor the story that is unfolding. Stories are meant to be told. They are for everyone. Different than the memories that remain only for personal anecdotal glory. It's for the archives.

It might be tempting to summarize this story as having two sides: the long term inhabitants of this region (tipi people) and the incoming Eco-village (the Newtons and their 'meta council'). And although on one level this is true, it is a superficial level, the level of pretexts and dualisms. But this isn't bad. There is gold to be found here. We have to start somewhere. As you read the many letters written in this story, go ahead, identify with one role or another. Feel impassioned even. Great understanding comes from this stage of 'the story'. Morals, values, discernment, judgement, right and wrong. Like a good Hans Christian Anderson or an old Indian animal story.  Do as the child does; identify with the roles, develop morality and become wiser for it. But don't get trapped there because beyond the easy dualisms await amazing and mysterious depths to discover. As in the talking/listening circle, the story is a journey and the truth of it is, all parts and archetypes present are actually representations of 'me'. This story is each of our story in some way or another.

So if you must "take a side", please do so with awareness that the story doesn't stop there, because there are no "sides" in the circle of life, only parts. We do not wish to justify ourselves here as there are probably more skillful ways we could have dealt with these circumstances.  We also do not wish to vilify Rod and Brooks and their project. We strive to integrate them. At times this is a great challenge, especially when the 'argument' turns physical and pain is involved. Which is what has happened here. Multiple families have been displaced and are homeless and it's winter. According to the Dominant Paradigm, yes, the Newton's are completely justified and right in calling the cops to have us removed from our home. It's actually quite normal within that culture to do so (many of you would even do the same). We know we have no legitimate 'rights'. However, our family along with many others who call this land home, are not governed by that paradigm. We rest in our inalienable rights and in the law of Gaia. It may be hard to understand this for those who have been usurped by the Dominant Paradigm, but many will know exactly what I am speaking of. We live our lives according to the seasons. Our bodies resting on the earth mother, wool and fir boughs the only layer between our hearts' and hers for many, many years. Our children know no other way. The fire, alive and elemental, is the center our families dance around daily and nightly. These forces are our paradigm. They bring us directly to a life of belonging.  So in this instance, it is a meeting of cultures. That's all. Now what? How can we all find dignity in this?

So here are many written letters from the concerned parties involved. There is a lot of writing compiled here and I imagine mostly they will not be completely read but knowing that many readers of this blog have direct relationship with these people and care deeply about some or all involved, including many mutual friends of Rod and Brooks and folk of Tipi Village, it may spark ideas of how to help. If so, please get in touch.

In love and respect for the story we are weaving,

One thing to know:
Communication prior to the first email below was usually in person (usually in the form of  a talking circle or a walk) or by telephone.  Since this thread began, our engagement remained through email alone. The first email was written while we were living on BLM across the imaginary boundary of the Winter Grounds.  We moved there before the usual winter migration in order to give more space and time for finding a true collaborative way forward with the Newton's and their Meta Council.
Once they informed us that they "reached a decision" about our presence on this land, our home, we responded with this:


November 20, 2014          Hearth Felt

Dear Rod, Brooks, James, Katherine, Greg, Paula, Will and Tashina,

Thanks for this process in which we are together involved and the humble learning taking place. Thanks for this continuing communication painted on a canvas of love. Love encompassing and accommodating openness, expansion, deep understanding and patience and the robustness to be kind and honest. These times are challenging for us all and it is essential that channels for collective dialogue are maintained and continually strengthened.

Between 'you' and 'us' we are involved in a dualism or a polarity although there is no dualism inherent in the Human Condition. We strive to live as a whole where our uniqueness can unite us. This 'whole' we can name Gaia or Mother Earth and it is to this whole we petition now and seek counsel.

Our side of the duality looks like this:
We have been disenfranchised from the 'decisions' of the Meta-Council, decisions which affect our way of life. A decision which threatens Latent Violence on our family, that you will involve the sheriffs (which, in case we were unaware, involves people with mace, tasers, cuffs and guns and a whole section devoted to taking our children away) should we have the audacity to assert a basic human right to live accountably and respectfully with our earth; to make a circle, sit down in it, build a fire, cook some food and lie down at the end of the day. To shelter ourselves from the elements, directly, as a family. We know you probably think it's sad and regrettable but it's what you need to do in order to succeed. And in the eyes of the Dominant Paradigm, one which enforces unjust laws for the encouragement of exploitative ways of living, you are completely justified in doing whatever those man-made laws will allow. Be also aware, however, that there is absolutely no moral or ethical justification for such threats which amount to little more than an abuse of power. The imposition of boundaries in such a way represents an inner weakness; a lack of the deep core values rooted in the sun rising and setting, the changing of the seasons, the waxing and waning of the moon; realities bigger than the psychosis and neurosis of the industrialized way of living.

Of course, it is clearly understood that there is an 'out of the moment' perception that we are a threat to the Seven Generations Project and all of the time, energy and hard work to which many have contributed. Your project is not so flimsy and maybe stronger than you are aware. As far as we can discern, the indirect threat that we pose is founded in a fear that our presence might draw adverse attention to your project which in turn might be looked upon unfavourably by county officials thereby restricting your agenda which is, as yet, still unclear. These fears, from our perspective and knowledge, are grossly over-exaggerated, largely unfounded and based in prejudice. How can we be motivated by that?

We strive to be motivated by love rather than fear and even less by the imposed fears of others. This means to integrate fears which arise, rather than to shun or disavow through discomfort, no matter where they come from be it Steve Mosby, yourselves, the sheriffs or a potential new community member running an unconscious fear agenda. There is a lot of time in seven generations. We can honour and respect your fears and we can even turn to them and face them, but it's not possible for us to integrate them for you (though we are happy to hold your hand through it)! Your fears about us seem to be an abstraction of multiple abstractions (what if - maybes) that are understandable but in all honesty are entirely unreasonable and logically inconsistent. There is a lot more to say about specifics and details but here we are trying to bring the dualism into awareness (so we don't have to be governed by it) rather than contribute to it with justifications of petty pretexts.

As the visionary seed of Seven Generations Farm is planted in the soil, please consider the life that is growing in the area. There is no need to chainsaw ancient oaks or bulldoze the mountains nor uproot the simple people who dwell here and who's children have been born on this soil. There is a willingness to accommodate and collaborate. May this seed grow strong with the power of love and only love because this is the only option as a way forward for humanity.

There is an opportunity now to have a good look at our marginalised and disavowed parts (you might say shadow?) given that inlakesh, 'I' am another 'you' and we are all a part of the one same superorganism. The actual basic physical and real reality is that not only are we causing no harm to anyone, we are having a directly beneficial effect on our immediate ecology and we are becoming more and more interwoven and integral as the years pass. Our culture is one of place and embedded connection, rather than attachment and an external illusion of 'ownership'. We all know that it isn't remotely possible to 'own' land and the denial of that reality for the complicity of the Dominant Paradigm can only be counter productive for any long term, lasting social change. The world is changing and the ecology is dying in the midst of life and we do not have seven generations to sit back and wait for others to give us permission to do the right thing by Mother Earth. We know the power of the earth and she bats not one eyelid at our petty solipsism. She is not sentimental. Her wind and water currents churn all that is. We know because she raps on our home and shakes it and burns it and wets it. The words of Chief Sealth, "This we know; the earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth" deeply resonate because they remind us of a universal truth, in danger of being forgotten which would be a great and perilous loss. We must empower these truths and do so at the expense of untruths. In times past we had the excuse and the luxury of ignorance and naivety. Now we don't and to do anything less than all that we can to end social and ecological destruction on a historically unprecedented scale would be negligent. The people and movements of energy coming forth from the Buckhorn Valley at this time have massive potential for real change in the USA where it's sadly and urgently needed, and more so on the sociocultural level than the political. We need living examples, now, of how to live collectively, directly and accountably and to deeply bond with and cultivate a knowledge of Place which, in this time of displacement and lack of common story/mythology, is absolutely essential. It's probably the hardest thing to do right now, to slow down enough to hear Mother Earth softly humming and it's the only worthwhile thing to do. The rest is window dressing. Pushing, elbowing, steamrollering and bulldozing, even if done with a smile and a statement of support is disingenuous and a poor example for our children who will (and make no mistake already are) hold us to account. Many eyes and hearts are turned toward the Tipi People of the Cascade-Siskiyous, locally and globally, and a very small minority of them are disparaging. We can't let those perspectives define the global imperative now. The process is open and public and will continue to be, simply because there is a wider benefit. Gentle openness is the only healthy and honest way forward here and things have become much more difficult and just plain weird since, through the advice of a lawyer, we were more covert and less open. We have no reason to hide or run and we have plenty of reason to stand, open, arms stretched to the sky, singing Yes!

We're asking for some basic common human decency here, a starting place where we can begin to come together and empower the real truth of the collective power of the circle. If there is any openness and willingness, we have numerous suggestions and ideas of finding solutions. The hierarchy is outdated. Circle as one; always completing never ending.

Our family has spent a good deal of time considering the options before us. We have stretched ourselves in many ways including traveling long distances to see new horizons. Patiently we have prayed and waited for clarity. The path of searching has brought us home, to the winter grounds. We are currently residing on bordering BLM as we have made a strong effort to wait as long as possible to find consensus with the Meta-Council or at least some resonance. We have about 9 days left not to mention the most basic need to prepare a cozy home for our large family as the elements become wet, freezing and harsh. There is very little time left for communication between us before we make our move for the best interests of our family, the neo-indigenous culture emerging here and the greater process with which we are all involved.

Recipients included in this email are of The Re-indigenous Council comprised of OPENTrust, For the Creation of Intentional Communities, EarthTeach, other Tipi People and family. This Council is currently collaborating and manifesting for Peopled Conservancies and the Global Commons, recognizing that sharing is at the very center of growing healthy community.

Thank you for reading this letter. It would be an honour to share a new moon sweat lodge this Friday along Carter Creek. Feel welcome.

From the ground around the fire,
Ande and Kayla

November 21, 2014          Re: Hearth Felt

Ande and Kayla,

Thanks for your heartfelt letter. We felt a lot of sadness reading it. We have a lot of beliefs and values in common. The one difference we hold is that we are committed to working within the existing laws to bring about change. We have spent considerable time, energy and money exploring ways to have tipis as legal residences (for more than the 30 days allowed under the camping laws), and haven’t been able to find any way.

We're sad that you are making this a conflict between you and us. I think your real conflict is with the laws of Jackson County.

Also, thanks for your invitation to the sweat lodge. We’re sorry we couldn’t make it.


Rod and Brooks

November 23, 2014          Re: Hearth Felt

Hello Rod and Brooks,

Thanks for responding. A lot of effort went into that letter, it's been a journey, or part of one and I acknowledge the generosity of the two of you in continuing to engage. It's really a wonderful process and an honour to be in a position to participate in a very wide story.

The sadness is present and has a place on the altar. It's a very full altar, as can be seen in the letter, there are other things on it too, though.

It feels like we're being asked to go much deeper here, together. It takes great heat to forge strong relationships.

But, for now...on with the pretext:

We've only been able to continue over all of these years by working with, and even within, the Existing Laws, and finding a way. We, too are committed to working with the Existing Laws. From our direct experience, the Existing Laws have always been very compliant in helping us be in compliance. They do need to change, too, though. The point is, in order to find a way one must make a way. Sometimes. There are ways we can find with the Existing Laws for our present, and pressing, situation.

We were saying the same thing, the other day, that 'you' were putting 'us' in a position of conflict instead of Jackson County. It's another thing we have in common. If we take the concept of Jackson County out of the equation, just for a moment, do we still have conflict? We just keep getting along with our lives and do our best to respond to the world, as it goes around doing what it does. An opportunity to resolve a conflict is generally considered good medicine and powerful learning.

I, personally, am really open to being convinced how it's acceptable for you to call the cops on us if we do move onto the Winter Grounds. We're just talking about doing whatever it takes to maintain agency over our lives, basically. Involve us in the process of our lives on the executive level, without patronising, and see how much bigger and stronger we'll all become. Trust us to make empowered moves for the benefit of all and see what happens. I just have no idea, in this moment, if it is the most widely beneficial move to return to the  Winter Spot as life seems to be a really complex system in constant flux.

If anyone has any useful input, feel free. And if anyone of the Metta Council would not like to be a part of this thread, let me know.

Big Love


 November 25, 2014          Re: Hearth Felt

Thanksgiving is upon us. The time when the indigenous hosted, held and nurtured the colonists as the new comers to a land known and loved by those who had already tended and inhabited it seasonally.
 How do we honor all of you involved in this complex puzzle?
 How can we hold and nurture all of you and you each other?

As the Quakers sit in silence together and open to the inner light that shines through us, I pray that "a way may open".
I send this message as an individual who cares about both of your visions and wants to see both of them come to full embodiment. The message is from my own person and does not represent any other individual or group. 
Love, Joanna
November 26, 2014          Re: Hearth Felt
Dear Rod, et. all,

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and as grandparents of the tipi-children, we wish to express deep gratitude for KC Mosby.  In 2008 Kayla and Ande had taken their tipi to what they thought was BLM land in order to birth their second child as closely aligned with the elements as possible.  One day KC rode up on her horse and explained that they were not actually on BLM, but that they were on Mosby land.  It turned out that KC had once lived in a tipi herself, and loved the idea of this young family giving birth in a tipi on this land she loved.  She supported the idea of this family living in harmony with nature and as stewards of the land.  She directed them to living on different parts of the land where neighbors would not be effected by their presence, and she allowed them to work with the fire, county and BLM officials so that they could be in compliance and remain on the land in their seasonal and nomadic ways.  This support continued after KC’s death, through her husband, Dave.  Dave also supported their presence on the land, and allowed them to work within the rules and regulations of those same officials.  Thank you Mosby Family.

For years now we have been part of Tipi Life from our comfortable home in town.  We visit often, sometimes spend the night, and celebrate the important family holidays on the ground and around the fire.  We have watched closely as they have built strong relationships with those same organizations and neighbors, and have seen them enter into conflict with them as well.  

Time after time neighbors and officials have approached the tipi folk with a complaint or concern.  Tipi life is a foreign concept to most.  And, time after time, once they sit down to tea, around the fire with Kayla and Ande, they often find common ground and solutions.  Those who have remained oppositional, interestingly, appear to be those who continue to decline the invitation to dialogue.  The truth is that Kayla and Ande have positive and working relationships with most neighbors, as well as BLM, county and fire departments.    

It’s been a beautiful, challenging, inspirational and educational journey watching my (Kim’s) daughter and her husband choose to live and raise a family in such an elemental way. Before Ande came into our lives we had no idea such a lifestyle was even possible.  Now we know it is crucial to the future of our planet that we learn to live lighter, to care for the land and not just build upon it, and to steward the plants and animals on that land in a way that supports future life and future generations.  One only need meet the children to feel the strength in their love, care and understanding of Mother Earth.

When we first learned that the Mosby land was being sold, and that Rod and Brooks were part of a council of folk who are dreaming into existence a new way of creating sustainable and long lasting community, we were overjoyed that potential allies had arrived to that beautiful land.  In the beginning, it appeared that the long held dream of living simply was going to get some traction with other like minded folk. In fact, throughout the summer we thought we were working together.  

As you said, Rod, “we have a lot of beliefs and values in common.”  This is true.  The conflict is now said to be between the Blanchflowers and the county, yet it appears that the door to resolving that conflict has been closed by the council.  How is it that we are not allies?  How is it that we are not working in concert to find a way forward that does not include displacing this family? The Blanchflower tribe (which includes us), along with the Re-indigenous Council comprised of OPENTrust, For the Creation of Intentional Communities, EarthTeach, Peopled Conservancies, Global Commons and the Meta-Council could all be allies working separately but in concert to influence the county.  The more allies, the more powerful and effective the movement for change will be.  There appears to be an opportunity for the Meta-Council to have many allies dedicated to creating change, each with their own unique angle of influence.  What an opportunity for a grass roots movement!

From our vantage point as community members of Ashland and family members of the Tipi folk, it seems that there must be a way forward, TOGETHER.  How do we assist the deep digging needed to find it?  

In deep respect,
The hopeful optimists,
Kim and Jimmy
November 27, 2014          Re: Hearth Felt
Ande and Kayla,

 On this Thanksgiving day, I am feeling a lot of gratitude for you and your family, for all the gifts you have brought to me. Your invitation into your tipi connected me in body-felt ways with deep values I have around connection to the earth, to nature, and to place, as well as to living a simple life. I’m sure this has affected me more deeply than you know.
 The challenge of dealing with the difference in our values around the legal system and cultural norms has forced me to seek Divine Guidance with more intensity and surrender, and to let go more into living in uncertainty, and living in the present moment. For these gifts I thank you both. And your children! They have been wonderful teachers and little love bugs.
 Our decision to not grant you permission to live on the land through the winter is because we cannot do it legally. Our decision to call the sheriff if you do move onto the land is because if you move onto the land illegally, and we don’t call the sheriff, we are breaking the law. We made those decisions and conveyed them to you as early as we could, so you would have as much time as possible to find an alternative. We wanted to be as clear as possible, and not have you be surprised by our actions later.
 We made those decisions after listening to you, and after much conversation and consideration, both with you and among ourselves. They were not easy decisions.
 You were not included in a consensus decision-making process because, although the decisions affect you, they are not your decisions. You have made decisions similarly. You made the decision to move back to the summer land (and other significant decisions) without including the Mosby’s, even though they were affected by your decision. They then made their decisions of how to respond to your decisions.
 I personally support your efforts to change the laws and change the culture. However, I can’t see how moving onto the land illegally could do anything but interfere with those efforts. It may be convenient for your family in the short term, but I can’t see how it could be the right thing, even for your family, in the long term.
 Although I pray for a mutually acceptable resolution to this, I’m not sure that is possible given the difference in the ways we relate to the legal structures and cultural consensus.
 I want you to know that these differences in no way diminish the value, and my appreciation for, the gifts I have received from you, and the gifts that I’m sure will come in the future. So, I hope you will accept my sincerest thanks and wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
With lots of love to all your family from both Brooks and myself,
 November 27, 2014          Re: Hearth Felt

Greetings Ande and Rod and everyone.
I am very thankful to be able to take part in this conversation. 
It is to me a very important conversation as I believe it portends the kind of civic alliance and collaboration that will become highly regarded by the bureaucracies who find themselves in the early yet dynamic throes of a great transition to a local peopled democracy, in which we could take an opportune lead. 
And I have recently been given three very young grandchildren which have sharpened my lifetime of deep regard for the remnants of our global indigenous peoples and their 10,000 yr old livelihoods. It was my fortune this Summer to come to tipi village a handful of times seeking a direct personal solace for what we are losing as a species pertaining to these old ecological lifeways. Livelihoods that we seemingly must re-discover and embark upon, as it is predicable that there will be one billion climate refugees needing sanctuary and ecological service livelihoods by 2050. My grown grandchildren probably and happily among them. Maybe even me.
Within these motivations I am here to open the 7Gen planners to the inevitable legislative passage of the OnePlanet Development scheme (legalizing indefinitely sustainable livelihoods) so we can all begin to consciously anticipate and allow for the next generation's progressive downsizing of the uber life of their parents toward a deep green re-indigeny, and place this idea well within 7Gen's ongoing village plan. Tipi village being the presenting seed for this consumer-free next-world vision that some of us are all but ready to live in. 
As a member of the Re-Indigenous Council we believe we are only the early pulse of a re-indigenizing human zeitgeist beginning to yearn for the regenerative joy of being a keystone species again. I ask the 7Gen community to regard us in communion with the Blanchflowers as we seek alliance with and inclusion in your project vision, which we find timely, beautiful and breath-taking unto itself, of what we have heard of it.
Apologies for my brevity. I am happy to go further into any of these directions with anyone here.
What else can go right!
November 28, 2014          Re: Hearth Felt
Dear all

These times of contention bring forth a strong demand for clarity and wisdom which can only have a wider benefit.
Thanks for all the perspectives speaking up here. The heart of true communication is willingness.
Your response, Rod, is beautiful and the learning continues as we all move. Times during this process life reminds me of it's iridescent shimmery quality.
I'm mostly going to say some things we already know and it can at least serve as a reminder of our common humanity..
It is essential to honour Divine Guidance. Uncompromisingly so. Especially when it's least convenient. It's reassuring to know that more and more of us have our priorities in order. We are on a journey of awakening.
Wake up, now.
I, personally, find Divine or Greater Guidance from my direct experience of Place woven with creation. From feeling my real and visceral impact or input on my ecology.
I am given away to this bigger process, let's say Gaia or Mother Earth.
It's kinda woven through my flesh and bones with the seasons, now mild evening more moonlight than sunlight. The Deep Time is upon us.
I am given away to the necessity of shelter. To shelter essentially with the luxury of all four elements present directly from the source.
Slave nor master.
The rising and setting of the sun is my timecard, my uncompromising boss. The waxing and waning of the moon. Battered by 60mph wind and horizontal sleet. First morning pee under a distant sun on a crisp frosty morning.
Just to share a bit of context because it's been so long I rarely remember things like a mirror cabinet over a bathroom sink and that inner dialogue of disconnected places interchanged with products. We're going nowhere trying to convince each other so from a blessed life we pass on our blessings to make more in the world.
My family and I are following a process here and it's focus is a direct physical-spiritual connection with a real, actual place. This spring will mark the end of a seven year cycle in the Buckhorn Valley for the Blanchflowers as Tipi People. Whether this is a death or a birth, we are committed to midwifing and honouring this process. We expect no-one else to honour that as it is what we are here for, now. So if our words or actions appear antagonistic or disrespectful, Rod, Brooks and SGF, then I can only ask forgiveness and give thanks for patience. It's nothing personal and 'your' intercession with 'our' process is where the information becomes transparent, molten...that thing that happens between unstoppable forces and immovable objects.
A couple of the dialectics you introduce, Rod, are logically fallacious and I'd like to address them in the interests of uncovering a deeper truth. I'm concerned that prejudice is a motivation here. "If you move onto the land illegally, and we don’t call the sheriff, we are breaking the law", aside from the chilling lack of personal responsibility reminiscent of the Third Reich, this is simply not true. Being in noncompliance with county codes is very different than breaking the law and county officials don't call sheriffs to evict people in noncompliance. They ask them to comply and give them at least thirty days before fining them and for as long as the parties are working towards compliance the county don't issue fines . Most people, according to the county, ignore fines, and when we've met with the county they've expressed gratitude at our engagement. We're not talking about some heinous crime being committed, though I can see how demonising and  presenting our situation as our own 'fault' would make it easier to carry out unreasonable actions. Which brings us neatly to the Mosbys, with whom we were in good relation until Steve took the helm of his family's trust and arbitrarily decided to evict us without communication or consent. Yes, we responded and answered to the land, still open and still striving for consensus. Steve made no pretence about working with consensus, however, which is clean and easy to understand.
I will respect any consensus decision of which I am a part, of course.
We have heard that members of your council describe us as amongst other things, 'a bugger you can't get rid of' which is surprising to me as I imagined we were not so bigoted. I find this quite dehumanising.
So I'd like to encourage you, Rod, if it's true that you personally support the efforts (not necessarily 'ours') to change the law and change the culture, to walk your talk. The change starts somewhere and it's not outside of ourselves. This is not really as a challenge to you but more like we're operating on different levels and we can work together for something even greater than mutual benefit. Our lives are incredibly full at the moment and this time of year.
Desmond Tutu said, "If you are neutral in times of injustice then you have chosen the side of the oppressor". It looks, from here, Rod, like your role is playing you rather than the other way around and you are, for no good reason that I can see, being the oppressor in a very real way. I don't 'choose' to see it like this, I 'choose' whenever possible, to see reality as it actually is.


 November 28, 2014          Re: Hearth Felt

 Hello Rod and the circle of folk involved in this process,

I give thanks for the quality of communication here between us all. Words from compassionate and passionate hearts. Hearts that care for and tend strong relationships.  I am learning a great deal from life at the moment and am grateful.

My understanding of (how I imagine) your position, Rod, is growing. I found your last letter beautiful. This helps a great deal and it also helps for more understanding about the gap and incongruities I feel are between us. It's this contentious and rough place I wish to explore further.

So far I understand that to be associated with the Tipi People could be politically dangerous. This is what I believe to be a motivating factor in the Meta Councils "decision" regarding the continuation of our living on the winter grounds. There is a fear. None of us wish for enemies, of course. Polarities, however, seem inevitable and unavoidable (yin yang) and can be used to our benefit. Seven Generations Project probably has few adversaries currently as it's' vision is only just beginning to manifest. Tipi Village is different in having been in existence for years now, growing in size and public awareness. Naturally, we have adversaries as well as great allies. I can understand and respect why SGF would be trepidatious in developing a close relationship with Tipi Village. 

I hear clearly that if there were a legal way forward for the tipi dwelling people to live on the winter grounds there would not be an issue here. I struggle with a perception of a lack of honesty in these regards. I see legal ways that I think are not given a proper consideration or have unreasonable excuses for not being explored. Before I list them here I would like to encourage the deepest honesty we can muster up. It's possible that county code and law are being used as a shield. I'm not completely clear about what is being shielded. That is a question I ask you, Rod.

We know first hand and through others that working with the county is largely about relationship building. Codes and laws are not as black and white as they appear, probably and most likely because they are held within much grander Laws. The county know us by name and by face. They know some of the history of Tipi Village, and certainly know that it was happening here well before the ownership of the deeds changed names (and will thus know it wasn't SGF bringing the "illegal" tipi life). We have had a good relationship with them over the years. Some of them have expressed a wish and hope for good positive change that could accommodate the vision we carry. Others have straight helped us to find the "loop-holes". This comes over time building a relationship. They explained the challenging nature of our situation in that only "land owners" have "rights". Perhaps Tipi Village could have a better chance at thriving if we had the opportunity to face the county officials directly. 

My first proposal is for us to continue living where we traditionally dwell during the winter months (free from the threat of sheriffs removing us) and if this path should lead us into the arms of the county, then we get to rise to another opportunity as we find compliance. We will not allow fines. I believe this proposal to be legit because engaging with the county and working toward compliance is legal. We are not asking the Meta Council to work out how the tipi people find compliance. We are asking that you not shut the door on our possibility to do so. We can become a primitive private campground (for example) and our family can be the hosts. This is not the long-term solution nor is it sustainable. It is simply one small step. "Inch by inch, life's a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard." 

A second proposal is one that I see as a sustainable and healthy solution for not only all of us but also future generations. It's a full (and expanding) vision and would take many voices to paint the whole of it. I encourage folk from the Re-Indigenous Council to fill in any gaps. The Winter Grounds can become a Peopled Nature Conservancy on land held by the Global Commons. This land will be free and safe from exploitation (through conservation easements) and will be inhabited by bands of families, seasonally tending and caring for these "protected" and "wild" places. Where there is an open community growing together and actively re-introducing humans as a Keystone Species and participating in the glorious blossoming of a new/old and connected culture. Where we birth and bury each other with our Place on the land. Where fragments are gathered and woven to bring forth a Culture of Deep Connection to Place. It's a fairly new concept for the mainstream era although ancient in its roots. The land would be held by the Global Commons, by the power of the circle. It will never be sold. 
The deeds to 1,600 acres or so were just purchased for the seed of Seven Generations Farm to grow in. We have come to learn that SGF intends for some of the land to remain "un-developed" and "wild". I even understand that the Carter Creek Winter Grounds is one such place. I see great potential here! What a perfect solution! This wild land can be donated to The Commons, SGF being a part of that (if there is the interest) and the establishment of the nations first Peopled Nature Conservancy can begin to grow. There will be many hurdles along this visions' path and will involve any who are drawn and inspired by it (and not a requirement of SGF to overcome these hurdles as I'm sure you'll have plenty of your own!). I see SGF in a position to make a contribution here. The circle must be empowered for healthy change as it brings forth an egalitarian society. One that shares and acknowledges the basic human equal rights in all of us. The Meta Council is in an abundant position to share the land and it's deeds. 

I feel deep respect and appreciation for the hours spent together exploring the many facets of our new relationship. I value the SGF vision and the people behind it. 

Thank you for reading. I hope these proposals will be truly considered and at the very least, they are met with a proposal other than "go away". We are not asking for any permission. We are simply asking that you do not threaten or use the sheriffs department to 'deal' with us. Being on this side of that threat, it just feels straight up wrong. As the Buddhist saying goes "There is no right and wrong. What's right is right and what's wrong is wrong." We are stronger than that and certainly more creative. Instead, come have some tea, or better yet, a sweat lodge.

In love,
November 30, 2014          Surrender to Love
Dear Rod,
We moved to the traditional Winter Grounds before your last letter. The constant background threat that men in uniform will walk up to this twenty foot circle where my family and I sleep and force us to leave is a heavy one but regardless of whether or not you call the police on us, it looks like we won't be staying here for the winter. Many hands, hearts and strong backs have worked this land with picks and shovels and it somehow, at the moment, feels not quite right that we are here. This place was always Tipi Village; not Ande and Kayla's. Kayla is about to post on the blog about the process.
I surrender to love and I yield my place to the culture of displacement which you call the cultural consensus. Make no mistake, the current situation of our displacement represents the cultural default here, not the cultural consensus and although we were all born to it, very few of us give our consent to it. The culture to which you and I were born has no consensus or even a common myth. This is the challenge of our time.
Love from Ande

November 30, 2014          Surrender to Love
Thanks for letting us know you have moved onto the land. We’re very sad to hear of your decision.
We see this as simply a series of decisions we are both making. We decided to not grant you permission to move onto the land under our ownership, for reasons you know, although don’t agree with. We want to be clear that we did not ask you to “get lost”, or “go away”. We honor your autonomy and decision-making, even if your decision violates the laws, and goes against our request.
As we have clearly let you know, if your decision is to move onto the land, our decision is to call the authorities. You decided to move onto the land. We will call the authorities tomorrow.
We continue to pray that over the long run this will work out OK for all of us, the land, and for the evolution of humanity.
Rod and Brooks
November 30, 2014          Surrender to Love
Rod, Brooks and the sgf meta council,
Could OPENtrust and the Re-indigenous Council ask for an asap powwow concerning these decisions? We can be there by Weds/Thurs with a handful of members well versed in the issues.

The future of the future is the present,
November 30, 2014          Surrender to Love
Ande and Kayla,
We (my family and I) are coming to Ashland tomorrow.  Perhaps we may join you on the Winter Grounds to receive the authorities?  Maybe they won't even show up, in which case it would be a good opportunity for our families to meet.  But if they do, I would like to be there to support you.  I think it's a good idea to film any encounter with law enforcement, so I'll bring the camera.  I've been following the email exchange, and I'm impressed with how civil it's all been, and with your steadfast continuation of your ways in spite of pressures from the external world.  The course of history is steered by the unrelenting efforts of the dedicated few, I believe.  So thanks for being strong and standing by what you live for. 

We will be heading down to Ashland as soon as we can get out of the house tomorrow morning.  I will call from the road, unless I hear back that you'd prefer to handle the lawmen alone.  Either way, I'm looking forward to getting our families together for a visit at some point.  We'll be staying in Ashland for a few weeks, so we should be able to work something out.  Cheers.
November 30, 2014          Surrender to Love
Of course it would be splendid to host you all. I guess we'll just be carrying on with our lives and we'll greet the authorities perhaps with an offer of a cup of tea. Or we'll just see.
Probably best if I give you directions over the phone. 
Go well!

 December 1, 2014          Surrender to Love

I wonder if you, James, Katherine, Greg, Paula, Will, Tashina, Rod and Brooks loose any sleep over all this.

It's 3:45 in the morning and my body can't seem to stop sobbing.

Why is no one else from the Meta Council saying anything here? Do you all feel aligned, right and good with the circumstances and decision of sending the SHERIFFS?

This is not a game! These are lives here! Our being here actually harms no one! Rod, you are abusing your position of power in a very serious way and the scary part is, I think you are becoming aware of it. Yes, we faced the sheriffs before. You might think it's not very dangerous but you are wrong. Very wrong. I think you are being incredibly naive about the effect of your actions. Do what you will and know that our actions put a ripple into the world. Love or fear. Stop letting your fear run you Rod or at the least, STOP putting it onto us! 

We can "legally" be here for AT LEAST 30 days if you had the decency and heart to "allow" for that.  

So I understand this is nothing more than a game of power to you.  And to really FEEL all this might mean becoming a puddle of tears on your kitchen floor. 

We have been here, for years. The way you are arriving is insensitive, disrespectful and frankly, parts of me are beginning to consider you lot a threat to this land.

Do you feel proud that you can sit in your ivory tower, in the safety bubble of your New-Age community and make a phone call to your 'agents' to have us removed? I got the word agents from my father last night, who is a deputy sheriff himself and explained that the sheriffs are being just that in this case. Agents of the rich. Agents of those who think they own our mother and are entitled to push others around. Perhaps it would help to read the Chief Seattle letter hanging on your wall again?

I'm being real here. Yes, I'm angry. Really fucking angry. You are messing with our lives in a very real and physical way just because we won't leave at your request; to leave our home and woven life now because you have the "power" to say so. Are you proud? Are you deeply aligned with this? Is this the quality of the spiritual guidance you get? Geeze Rod. It's pretty messed up if you ask me and if you step outside your safe little bubble of mainstream ways of thinking, you'll find that countless people would agree. 

Let's see what coming together on Wednesday/Thursday could bring. It's something we haven't tried yet. 

Rod and Brooks, you don't have to call the authorities simply because you clearly warned us. Seems a bit like a parent following through with the threat of a consequence. Maybe there is a fear of appearing weak in not following through but know that you aren't our parents. Even if you were, sometimes it can be the strongest thing to admit to your child that you were wrong. Remember, things can change, especially when given the room. 


I made a post on our blog yesterday sharing some of the intimate, tender and vulnerable process me and my family are in. If you care to have a look:

Also, I am speaking only for my family and NOT the Re-Indigenous council.

December 1, 2014          Surrender to Love

Ande and Kayla,

We just had a good talk with the Sheriff Deputy, Charlie Retzer. He suggested that he give you 24 hours notice to leave the property, and if you leave by that time he won't need to arrest you. We gave him your phone numbers so he can call you and doesn’t have to surprise you. He seems like a very compassionate man, and I’m confident he will handle the situation well.

You brought this on yourselves. We were very clear with you over the past couple of months. You can avoid all of this now by moving off the land in the next 24 hours. It’s not like you don’t have any other options. If you don’t move off of the land, and there are negative consequences, you have no one else to blame but yourselves.

We are sorry that it has come to this, but we will continue to offer our integrity—saying what we will do and doing what we say we will do.

With compassion for your situation and holding firm with our limits,


December 2, 2014          Surrender to Love

Dear Good King Rod,

Yes, I have brought my life upon myself, of course, I will continue to do so without compromise.I will continue to rise to and meet life as I live the stories that I will tell my grandchildren. I feel good about this because I know that I'm harming no-one. Of course I understand that your paradigm has been transgressed by me but your paradigm is out of date. Your continued 'victim-blaming' illustrates this. I, as you are, am defined by my actions. Your words, Rod, are not congruent with the callousness of your actions and you would do well to take on some responsibility for your actions. This is very different than blame. Blame tends to come about when there's a lack of personal responsibility so, sure, I could take on more responsibility.
It might be difficult for you to understand, given the world in which you live, but the only 'decision' I have made is to follow and honour the process of fully living my life. It's about as much 'decision' as a meandering river twisting, turning and falling to the sea. This is an elemental process and in your attempt at intercession with this process you will get to feel some of it. Our processes are entwined and for you, it's free.
I have heard some of the things you have been saying about me Rod and thanks for your feedback although direct would be appreciated and public I'm okay with. It's good to see that you will do what you say you will do because my experience of you, thus far, is that you have done little of what you have said. The point in saying this is that involving the sheriff with what is, essentially, a family disagreement lacks personal integrity and is weak. Again, it demonstrates a lack of honest core values.
My theory is that Kayla and I challenge your power structure and you want rid. You haven't said the words, 'get lost' but you've also offered nothing in the way of positive input even in the face of willing collaboration and many creative ideas. It would be polite to offer something real, given the hostility of your actions. I have heard that you are a kind and generous man.
I suspect that you are afraid of my family's relationship to this land and that we will hold you to account with your impact here. I think you want to bulldoze and throw up McMansions to appease your investors. I am concerned that you want to profit from our mother at her, and our, expense and I'm having a hard time reconciling this in our relationship. Let me know if I'm completely off on one here. I'm trying to make sense of all of the incoming information and the deeper reason for such extreme responses. It appears that you are hiding something behind the 'law'.
We don't call the cops on each other. That's just plain wrong.
Perhaps I overestimated you , Rod, and my hopes and expectations have been failed.
You might be interested to know, Rod and Brooks, that we have decided to turn the land where your house stands into a wild-tending retreat centre for all of the busy people in town. We can run lunchtime drop-ins and make a load of money. We know it seems harsh but it's really for the best for everyone and we think you'll understand. You can go and live somewhere else, it will be good for you. We'll give you thirty days from today.

Always with love, for real,

December 3, 2014          Surrender to Love

Finn Po,
Thank you for your offer to meet with us with Ande and Kayla. I don’t know that this is the time for such a meeting. It seems from their last e-mails that they are in a lot of pain, understandably so, and are probably angry, scared and deeply sad. We are hoping that you, and their other supporters, can offer them your support, so they don’t feel so alone as they go through this. And we hope you can help them find a suitable place to live.  Other than our prayers, we are at a loss as to what else we can do at this point.
Thanks for your support,
Rod and Brooks Newton

December 3, 2014          Surrender to Love

Good morning Rod and Brooks,
We will be meeting in Glendale tomorrow and then as a group we will journey to Ashland early Friday to help through Saturday in whatever is presenting itself at that time at the winter grounds. Then Saturday evening we all plan to attend the Hazel Ward storytelling at Wellsprings 7pm. Please consider coming early and sharing in all that will have unfolded by then.

Note: Imagine having wintered here for seven years in a tipi. One idea: fund raise among the meta council to gift this family a winter long tropical vacation. For instance, my daughter tells me that tickets to Maui are $130 right now. Or a primitive Baja playa with Ilya rolling in sand dollars. Ready set go! 

Love is in the Earth,

December 6, 2014          Head's Up

Ande and Kayla,

Just a heads up to let you know that deputy Retzer has not returned to the land because he was off duty the past few days. He goes back on duty tomorrow (Sunday). We didn’t want to have him turn it over to another deputy, since he’s familiar with the situation. He will go out to the land tomorrow and, if you are there, he will enforce the law. We sincerely hope you have found, or can find, a suitable alternative site that will serve your family and the cultural change toward low impact living.


Brooks and Rod

December 7, 2014          Heads Hung

Hello Brooks and Rod,

The fear is s palpable as we've delved deeper into this process. Fear is okay when we recognise its healthy place on the altar; it brings a broad sensibility. When disavowed, however, it becomes unknown and unconscious and its power becomes corrosive and toxic. It dominates our actions especially towards those whom we love and are close. When we hold that fear and even love it we can allow space for radical transformation.

I miss you guys! Where did you go?

I am curious what the deeper need is, here, for both of us, for such irrational and hostile contention. Will this deeper need be fulfilled once we have been physically made to go? We are stronger allies than enemies, surely, and while the current state of our relating is fraught, one can only wish that some strong foundations are being laid. The willingness to continue communicating is appreciated here.

My need is quite basic and simple; to shelter myself and my family and to maintain a culture of connection and accountability on all levels (physical, psychic and spiritual). To love and be loved comes next.

What is your need, on the most fundamental and basic level, relating to our contention? I ask this genuinely and curiously.

I am willing to stand in the fire and burn, transform.

We are also playing out a broader social issue; that of unequal distribution of wealth. Traditional societies in this region and indigenous social structures all over the world have safeguards against this in order to maintain social cohesion. Even recent studies in the industrialised world have revealed that communities with equal opportunities and evenly distributed wealth are much happier and effective. If anyone started to have more than anyone else they would be considered to be hoarding and would be shunned. Also, you wouldn't be happy walking around in a pair of moccasins and a spare pair at home knowing that the family next door had leaky shoes and it was winter. Industrialisation and corporate capitalism have inverted this social structure, celebrating and protecting the moneyed, vilifying and shunning the poor.

In  short, the sheriff will enforce the 'law' of the moneyed privileged. Here again we find ourselves at the blunt end of millionaires. No-one's 'fault', of course, but it doesn't mean we can't do something about it. Also bear in mind that although it might feel a little relieving to have sent a 'heads up' about the sheriff, it doesn't change the action. I can't help being reminded of this summer when the IDF sent text messages to the Gazans saying, "your house will be bombed in thirty seconds, vacate now". Yes, thank you for not killing me, but you bombed my house!

None of this will change anything outside of myself. I said it anyway because language is culture and we have it in common. I am looking forward to giving the two of you a big hug and finding out what all of this was about.

Always with love

December 8, 2014          Heads Hung

Ande and Kayla,

We will talk more with you once you have honored our request to move from the land. Until then we don’t have anything more to say.

December 9, 2014          Hearth Felt
This thread has held a lot for all of us involved. I commend Ande and Kayla as well as Rod and Brooks for expressing their hearts in the best cultural forms from which each of them come today.

Having spent some time with the Blanchflower family I honor and respect them as the most "re-indigenized" folks I know. I feel their sincerity and authenticity as they write via this format.

I have yet to meet Rod and Brooks. Never the less, I recognize clear efforts to use peaceful and clear communication. I also empathize with the emotional investments they likely have in the Seven Generation project.
From where I sit around the fire, this is what I see.
1. This is a cross-cultural exchange which is worthy of mediated support.
2. Some assurance of working with the Blanchflower family as the caregivers, tenders and inhabitants of the particular land know as the "Winter Land" for the last 7 years seems prudent and just.
3. This is a situation worthy and amenable to collaboration. To me, resistance appears inappropriate as the parties involved are actually allies. To be working in opposition of one another appears to me as "horizontal hostility" that can be found within oppressed groups. It is my understanding that everyone here has the common goal of creating the space and legal ability to live indigenously.
4. This collection of individuals has the collective power and knowledge to change the law, to create Common lands, to support re-indigenous living. A significant cultural shift, for the Blanchflower family and multitudes more, can occur from the collaboration of such a group.
I have recently been asked to participate in a group of people who are committed to "Empowering the inalienable human right to subsist on land held in Common." We recognize the relationship between those living indigenously and those living more conventionally as being cross-cultural relationships. We offer and encourage mediation and support to those relationships. We call ourselves the Re-Indigenous Council.
As the Re-indigenous Council we offer the Blanchflower family sanctuary for the winter season. We have found support from Pete Cotton as an intermediary between the parties. We also have access to professional mediators and Council facilitators should the parties be willing to participate.
The current situation between the Land Liberation Project and Seven Generations is an inspiring one that demonstrates a herstorical, as well as current and likely, future conundrum. We believe each person involved has a unique and necessary perspective around the council fire. We believe the council fire will help us see a way through that is beyond what any one perspective can offer. We are on the edge of a significant cultural shift. I pray that we all play our parts true to our unique position.
Bright thoughts, Joanna

December 16, 2014         

My heart is heavy with wonder if I could have been more helpful. I read this afternoon on facebook that the arrest did take place. I am sorry for the trauma suffered on any account. It is my sincere hope to provide you with anything you may need. I admire your courage though this should be no new news to you!
I am fascinated by the extreme measures we are forced to display to be heard, seen or acknowledged. Look what we must do to remind the world of minimum requirements to live. 
It is your willingness to follow through that places you at the forefront of this movement. I am beginning to see that there was no other alternate outcome as long as the culture communication was blocked. It appears to be deeper than blocked when some refuse to acknowledge.
I continue to be moved, motivated, encouraged and inspired by your willingness to stay true to the knowledge you now come away with. So precious is your perspective into the true meaning of freedom and liberation.
Please allow the universe to now wrap your precious tribe into the folds of the mother's love. You have worked so hard and now it is time to take this knowledge and transcribe it into a powerful movement. Allow the forces of the energy to guide to the place that you can be nurtured, sheltered, appreciated and celebrated for your legacy.
Please forgive my absence, I am at your service and send you all my love so that it my lift your spirits.
December 18, 2014          As it is
Brooks and Rod,

End this attrition and hostility towards my family and I.

You have violated the sanctity of my family with your action of calling the sheriff and criminalising our culture and way of living, much in the way the Mozambican hunters have been labeled poachers. I see no good reason for the denial of my liberty for the violation of a county ordinance; not even equivalent to skateboarding on the sidewalk or a parking ticket. Ok, we only span two generations and the first born to connection but it's only after living on the ground for at least one winter that one can begin to understand for what the culture of industrialised fragmentation has absolutely no frame of reference. I was born in the culture to which you lend your power. You have stomped on this emergent post-industrial culture with your spoilt monster of a 'baby' of an 'eco-village'. You could have helped, instead you chose to lend your power to hinder and, being at the brunt of your power, I can attest to it's spitefulness in action hidden beneath a veneer of an apparently expensive smile.

Your actions seem to be malicious and a form of punishment for declining your 'request' to stop my relationship with the place where my bone (yes, bone) blood and flesh are mingled. The place which permeates the very cells of my body. The place which, as I was loading belongings the other day said, loudly,”What? You're leaving?” as a child might. The place that you will never understand from your vantage of Google Earth and your permaculture walks. You seem to have taken personal offence, which is a great shame.

You have actively chosen the side of oppression. Not just in having Kayla and I cuffed, violated and thrown in jail, but in the way that you have attempted to influence those close to us in order to coerce, “We wouldn't want the children to be taken away.” is the kind of threat you'd expect from the mafia. You are welcome to your Belief Systems and you can 'choose' to see reality as you like but remember the words of Goenkaji,”There is the reality as we would like it to be and then there is the reality as it is."

Drop the charges, please, that have turned Kayla and I into criminals and have involved my children in a 'crime'. They are now known to the authorities because of your actions which, although came as no surprise, were a huge disappointment. I don't know how our relationship can recover from actions which amount to a family argument getting physical. Passive-aggression turned violent. I know, you told us and you warned us and it's a feeble argument in the face of what you did. It does not exonerate you from your actions, much as you attempt to privately and publicly deny this and blame me. You have a lot of face to save for your project. Yes, the Ashland community rallied around you against AT&T. People are generally favourable towards David rather than Goliath. As yet, we have still made no public statement about what it feels like to be displaced by an eco-village.

As it stands, we have no intention of being anywhere near your trip, your ego-village and the land to which you now hold entitled title and if those words serve as the fulfilment of the imposed condition we heard through Leslie that you will only drop the charges under such utterance, then so be it. Show it to your lawyer. By dropping the charges we will be free to leave the state and to find a new home. I don't know, however, if we will still have to appear in court on December the 23rd. By choosing to not press charges you can send a clear signal of intention towards healing. You still have your jackboot in our neck. Kindly remove it.

I am still, as I have always been, open to sitting and communicating with you both, unconditionally and with an intention of restoration, reconciliation and honesty. It would say a lot if you had the strength to face these disavowed (shadow?) parts of yourselves, for grown-up real. Until then, your homework is to understand the difference and relationship between sympathy and empathy and their respective effects on humane human relationships.

In honest love
December 18, 2014          As it is
Ande and Kayla,

We called the DA office to drop charges. 

At the suggestion of Pete Cotton, we are tentatively planning a constellation led by Stephen Victor on Jan 2nd for the purpose of healing the energetic pattern of conflict that has been on this land for generations—natives fighting natives, settlers fighting natives, whites fighting whites, Mosby’s in conflict with others, etc. If you are interested in doing a constellation also, for the purpose of healing the land, we will arrange it. 

As we continue to do our healing in relation to this, we are discovering more and more about the energetic pattern of the land that is dovetailing with our own patterns of wounding. We feel that you two, and we, have been influenced by this land pattern and in certain ways have been playing it out unconsciously. We are deeply sad about the pain all of this has caused you and your family, as well as the damage it has caused to our relationship. We are hoping this will help in the healing.
January 1, 2015          Tenderly Open
It is encouraging that there is willingness to bring to awareness and integration the cultural conflict and displacement present (not just) in the Buckhorn Valley. If you, Rod and Brooks, are inviting us to a constellation tomorrow or proposing a separate one then we are tenderly open to either, just let us know.

-Ande and Kayla
January 2, 2015          Re: Tenderly Open
Ande and Kayla,

Just got your e-mail. We're happy to arrange a constellation for you. I left messages on your phones, but no answer. I talked with Stephen Victor and he is available today at 12:30 or next week. If you want to do it today, just come to Hidden Springs and if we are still in session you can wait in the other room until we are finished. If you want to do it next week, you can e-mail Stephen to arrange possible times and then let us know and we will let you know if the room at Hidden Springs is available at those times.

You can invite anyone you want to observe your constellation, including us if you would like us to observe.

Best Wishes,

Rod and Brooks
January 6, 2015          Re: Tenderly Open
There is a Hellinger constellation facilitated by Stephen arranged for one o'clock on this coming Thursday in the community room at the Jackson Wellsprings.  Everyone reading this is welcome and invited to attend, although some are across the world. The process is open for the greatest and widest possible benefit.
Rod and Brooks, we can acknowledge your contribution to the collective effort here (Stephen would like to be paid before you go on vacation). However, a lot of issues have been raised, not just through this email thread and there is much to be addressed if we are to empower our relationship to shine it's potential. It's going to take more than throwing money at it, however; being arrested for going home and being homeless with four children in the middle of winter is no flippant matter. Putting a sympathetic 'deeply' before an adjective doesn't quite do it; we never got to find out your deeper need. 
Yes, the story of this land, not just the part to which you hold title, has been fraught since settlers arrived with the paradigm of domination. Prior to that no-one knows how life was because everything was completely different. We know this because we sleep with our heads on our mother's breast and we have heard her heart beating (a hummingbird has a heart rate of some two thousand per minute, a human somewhere between seventy and eighty, a blue whale about two, sister moon oscillates monthly and Gaia earth once a year). It takes an effort of will and diligence to avoid complicity with the Dominant Paradigm a world view which is contrary to life and living. The effort is not insurmountable.
Love to all,

January 9, 2015          Re: Tenderly Open
Thanks to all who came in support yesterday for the Constellation.

Rod and Brooks, Kayla and I each received a letter from the DA the day before yesterday telling us to appear in court on the 28th. Have you picked the charges back up?
January 9, 2015          Re: Tenderly Open

I just called the DA again to have them to drop the charges. I had called twice before, but they had no record of it. Apparently the report hadn’t been filed at that time. Let me know if it comes up again for some reason. We have no intention to press charges as long as you aren’t living on the land.

I hope you found the constellation valuable. I have found it very helpful in the past and again found our constellation last Friday valuable.

Best wishes,

January 12, 2015          Re: Tenderly Open
Ande and Kayla,

I can’t believe you set up a Tipi on the land! I am sad and deeply disappointed.

I called the DA and rescinded the request to drop the charges, so you will have to appear in court on Jan 28th. I’m assuming that’s what you are wanting anyway, based on your actions.

The DA said he will issue a restraining order to keep you from trespassing to the land. You do not have permission to go on the land again. You will need to get someone else to remove your possessions. James and Greg both have power of attorney to make legal decisions regarding tenancy on the property. They will handle things while we are away.

My sincere hope is that you find a suitable place to continue your lifestyle.


January 13, 2015          Assuming=ass of you and me
Wow Rod. I believe you may have just made a fool of yourself. I'm glad you "can't believe it" because it isn't true. 

Yes, we set up our lodge on the land. Of course, our family needed shelter. Where else would we pitch it, the moon? If by "the land" you mean "my land", then no, we did not pitch our lodge on "your land". We wouldn't dare do so. It was the voicemail from you (left on my mothers phone the night you sent us to jail) threatening the removal of our children from me and Ande that keeps us from returning to our winter home. You won. That is a mean and dirty threat and you won. Are you proud?

The tipi that James and Melanie saw at Bear Springs does not belong to us and we do not live in it. We would rather not say exactly where we are living but can assure you it is not on "your land". Our family has been hassled and traumatized enough and we still have winter ahead of us. That isn't to say you or James or Greg or anyone isn't welcome. You are, always. Just come and find us. It isn't hard. We have been accessing our lodge through "your land" to avoid drawing further attention. We also pitched the shop a couple days ago in hopes of filling some orders to maintain an income for our family (both of these were suggestions made by you).

Here's a tip: drawing conclusions is dangerous. Especially when we take serious actions on conclusions that were actually completely wrong to begin with. If there is any "sadness and deep disappointment" here, it would be that we have criminal charges against us (which means 30 days in jail and a minimum $1,000 fine) and a restraining order that demands we stay away from our place of connection, of ceremony, of tended plants.........What are you doing? Slow down Rod because someone is going to get seriously hurt if this continues. Is this another "shadow" reaction like the "lawsuit scam"? There is no need to press charges. Please retract them. 

Please consider the motivation of how you move through the world because the effect of your wave is painful. Seriously, physically painful. Please stop. 


January 13, 2015          Re: Assuming=ass of you and me
With Rod and Brooks out of the country, my anxiety is on the rise about who takes the responsibility of stopping the erroneous action of reenacting the charges with the DA's office? Any further legal action would be an outrage. James? 
With deep concern,
Kim (mother of Kayla)
January 13, 2015          Bottom Line
Ande and Kayla,
I’m glad to hear you aren’t living on our land. We have called the DA and requested that they drop charges as our agreement was that charges would be dropped if you were not living on the land.  My apologies for thinking it was your lodge on the land above. Who would have thought someone else would have a lodge on your old Bear Creek site. 

For clarity sake, we did not give you permission to set up your shop or access your lodge via the land we hold a deed to. We had discussed it several months ago as a possible idea, when I thought there was some hope of possible collaboration. No agreement or permission was ever granted. 

We want to be clear about our bottom line at this point: You have demonstrated that you are not willing to accept the current cultural convention of land ownership, and you haven’t shown the slightest willingness to collaborate, or do anything other than to try to get what you want, without compromise. Because or that, unfortunately, we can’t work together. 

You do not have permission to go on the land, except to remove your belongings, and we will enforce that with a restraining order. You have one week to remove your shop and belongings, ending Wednesday, January 21st, at which time any remaining materials will be removed.  

Since we are leaving the country tomorrow, all further dealings must be with James or Greg.
January 13, 2015          Re: Bottom Line
Dear Jesus, Gandhi, Dr. King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Crazy Horse, Chief Seattle, Chief Sitting Bull, Bhagat Singh, Emiliano Zapata, Nat Turner, Elie Weisel, Dietrich Boenhoeffer, Emma Goldman, Rosa Parks, Assata Shakur, Sojourner Truth, Geronimo, Bobby Sands, Romona Africa, et al. 
 "We want to be clear about our bottom line at this point: You have demonstrated that you are not willing to accept the current cultural convention."

In deep healing and all-one Love, 
The Seven Generations Ego-Village ® ™ © 

 In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation.*
*Void where prohibited. May be restricted or redefined by current moderator of social understanding at any time, with or without context to the peoples whom from which the original ideas where penned and are now all but obliterated by those with laws and money and men with guns.

(from a fellow community member)
January 14, 2015          Bottom Line<Mother Gaia
What a life! One can only wonder at the awe of it. The world continues and endures for the free people; our task is to not be ensnared by fallacious thought constructs. That last email from Rod and Brooks was either intentionaly manipulative and devisive or else plain naive. Given that most of our interactions have lacked the honesty to address direct questions (evidenced in this email thread, which is too valuable to be kept from the public domain) I am veering towards the former.
The only relevant question here, again, for the third time, is 'what is the Deeper Need'?
A common fallacy is called 'the straw man'; one in which a false representation of the opponent is constructed and then attacked. This whole process and relationship started going pear shaped when Rod, Brooks and their meta council made a decision (we can't have you on the land) and imposed it, eventually violently, with no option for collaboration. It is easier for extreme actions to be justified when the recipient of those actions is discredited and vilified and here comes what the new agers call 'master overlay' even as a form of passive aggression. 
You are living what you are accusing.
Out of necessity Kayla and I have striven to collaborate with you all. There is no imperative for the moneyed and entitled to collaborate because of the systems of violent domination which support them in doing whatever they want however they want it. Yes, we didn't collaborate with you because we were never invited to even though we were asking. And yes, we haven't ceded to your commands too. We have simply striven to live in a good way, which means fully honouring place and relationships. You, Rod, Brooks and lackeys have made it quite clear how you relate to the land and the people around you. 
Since our public statement many have come forward in the Ashland community to express not only their inability to work together with you both but also those whom have suffered at your manipulation of honesty. Most notably people from Big Bend, where you have previous for doing the exact same thing; grabbing land and displacing people from their homes.
At this point in this process, Rod and Brooks, you can still find a way to be gracious in victory or defeat. It will define you.
The tipi up at Bear Spring is perhaps your first glimpse of what is frothing out of the ground here. Your continued resistance will only cause more pain and anguish for many people who not only thought but knew and know. Take care how you relate to this place and the beings present here; it hasn't blown up in your face. Yet.
Love to all
January 16, 2015          Fwd: Blanchflower Matter
Mr. Newton-
Pursuant to your request, we are dismissing the Blanchflower matter involving your property. If you have any questions, feel free to call or email.
Marco A. Boccato
Deputy District Attorney
Jackson County DA's Office
715 W 10th Street
Medford, OR 97501

It was at this point when we stated, publicly, that we intended on sharing these email correspondences on our blog.  Soon after, James Haim, a member of Seven Generation's Meta Council, wrote the following email.  


January 16, 2015          In Response

As you may know, Rod and Brooks Newton have formed a council to steward a community initiative on the land they recently purchased adjacent to Buckhorn Springs. We collectively decided to respond to the many emails sent by Ande to this list.

Some History

Ande and Kayla Blanchflower lived on the ranch for years when it was owned by the Mosbys. During that time there were numerous neighbor concerns and complaints made about raw sewage, a fire pit in the Tipi, etc. In the spring of 2014 (while the land was still owned by the Mosbys), ___________, the county Code Enforcer, warned Ande that they were trespassing and needed to vacate the ranch.

Rod and Brooks and other investors bought the ranch in October, 2014 with the intention of working with county and state officials to create a stewardship land trust.  Ande and Kayla’s unlawful residency required attention, since it prevented lawful compliance with the trust, county, and municipal regulations. Rod made numerous and concerted efforts to resolve this situation harmoniously. Working with county officials and an attorney, and through dialogue with Ande and Kayla, Rod tried to find possible legal solutions to circumvent regulations that prevent Tipi living on the ranch. Despite spending considerable time and expense, it became clear that this was not legally possible.

In early fall, Rod and Brooks reluctantly communicated the legal facts conveyed to him by attorneys and county officials to Ande and Kayla, who were no longer living on the land. Rod and Brooks volunteered various ideas for Ande and Kayla to consider as short-term solutions for their family.

At that point, the relationship began to deteriorate. Andy and Kayla’s prior tone of friendship changed to anger and they began verbal attacks on Rod and Brooks. Ande and Kayla moved their family back on the ranch on November 27th, informing Rod and Brooks after the fact. Rod and Brooks had made it clear in numerous conversations with Ande and Kayla over the previous months that they would need to call the authorities if they illegally returned.

Rod called the authorities. Ande and Kayla had multiple opportunities to avoid being arrested. Given several days to leave, Ande and Kayla chose to remain on the ranch. Someone told Rod and Brooks that Ande and Kayla had said they wanted to get arrested, as an act of protest.

The Sheriff came out and told them that he would return the next day, and that if they were still there he would have to arrest them.  When he came back, they had a cameraman ready to document the event. They were arrested by the Sheriff and taken to jail for several hours, then released, with a pending court date. With Ande’s promise to not return to the ranch, Rod and Brooks dropped the charges.

Present Day

Those of us involved in this situation have felt sadness and disappointment over how all this has become a display of animosity and what seems to be an attempt to polarize public sympathy. Rod and Brooks (and all of us) have put a lot of time and resources into trying to make it legal for Ande and Kayla to stay put, but without success.

Did we or do we hold any malice towards Ande and Kayla? Did we participate in anything underhanded? Do we have some sort of personal or corporate profit agenda with the ranch? No, no, and no.

Hundreds of people who have known Rod and Brooks over the course of many years can speak to their consistently high level of caring and citizenry.

It is unfortunate if Ande and Kayla felt misled into thinking that they could somehow continue to live on the ranch, given the legal limitations. We have been patient and non-retaliatory with Ande and Kayla’s name calling and judging of us in recent emails, Facebook posts, and blogs. But this has escalated into personal confrontations in the form of verbal abuse from Ande during visits to the land. This has convinced us that trying to collaborate any further has now become impossible. We have no right to expect anyone to change. However, we also have no obligation to continue an association with those who hold us in such obvious contempt.

With sadness that the story has unfolded like this, we acknowledge the end of our relationship with Ande and Kayla relative to this land, and wish them well with finding a new home.


James, Katherine, Paula, Will, Rod, and Brooks
for the Seven Generations Project

January 19, 2015          For Real

 Thanks for responding, James, Catherine, Paula, Will, Rod and Brooks.

It's about time you guys spoke up because you are an executive part of the process and thus far have appeared to eschew honest communication. It's helpful to read your perception and your version of recent events and interactions. I would like to hear more personal perspectives.

Greg and Tashina's names are noticeably absent.

Your email was almost wholly factually inaccurate and were we so inclined we could probably sue you for defamation (don't panic, that's really not our style). The tone seems to be one of vilification and demonisation rather than reconciliation; explanation rather than exploration. Furthermore, it's coming across as a cynical attempt to discredit in order to maintain a flimsy facade to your investors and the Ashland new-age community, where you are held, for the most part, in high regard. Also, discrediting the tipi dwellers of the Buckhorn Valley legitimises and justifies your hostile actions. Turning the reality of our lives into an ideology puts us into the realm of politics because you are meeting us with ideology, not reality. For our realities to be clashing your home and life-way would be threatened as ours is. In short; we are not trying to stop you living how you see fit, whereas you are stopping us. Violently.

Look, you guys have succeeded; much as the Mozambican hunters have been criminalised as poachers when the eco-tourists came, I find myself as a steward criminalised as a trespasser now that the ecovillage has arrived. Your email is the first time I have heard the words 'stewardship land trust' relating to this place. If that's your true intention then how did we become misaligned? You have it all your way, even the twenty foot circle we call home which happened to be in the midst of 1600 acres entitled to your corporation.

I'm not going to go through all of the petty inaccuracies because that would be tedious and disrespectful to the other readers and contributors to this thread. I am going to try to address some of the major ones, though, because there's more to learn.

The biggest and most offensive logical flaw is that 'someone' told you we wanted to be arrested. I don't recall any of your clique ever asking me if I wanted to be arrested. No, we did not. We wanted to do nothing more than return home to the Winter Grounds. The 'cameraman ready to document' was a concerned neighbour who turned up of his own volition when we got to the road, after we had already been arrested and walked out. We have been advised by many that it's a good idea to have cameras present when dealing with law enforcement to help them behave. It turns out we got along alright and we always have. The pictures on the blog were taken by Kayla and I with our phones. We could have had friends from various local and international newspapers on alert but decided against turning our lives into a spectacle for the bored.

What are you trying to do by painting such a fallacious picture? Some would say Speaks with a Forked Tongue.

Over the past seven years of tenure there have been four complaints. Never about 'raw sewage' because there are no sewers here. Sewage is what happens when one defecates in water and it's a problem. Here we return our poo to the ground, where it belongs, sans toilet paper and added leaves, duff and other high carbon, high microbial humus matter. Two of the complaints were about solid waste; easily rectified with a porta potty. One was about parking on the road, again easily complied with a small gravelled parking area. The other complaint was the last time we heard from _____________, the county code enforcer. Although he has a badge and a gun in his car, I have never seen him wearing either. That's because he's code enforcement and it's not his job to inform anyone that they are 'trespassing'. That would be the job of law enforcement, you know, the guys who wear their guns, cuffs, tasers and bullet proof vests. Do you understand, yet? Code and law are very different. Anyway, we last saw him when he came to the Summer Spot in the autumn of 2013. He told us that someone had hired a lawyer (probably the very same one from whom you take advice) to have the county code about tipis re-interpreted to be in violation and that we would have to become a private campground in order to be within compliance. Until that point there was no code for tipis and _____________ was cool with that; he knows how we live and care for the land. At that time Steve Mosby had taken the helm of his family trust following the death of his father and was under pressure to liquidate his assets and sell the deeds to the 2000+ acres of ranch, of which your corporation bought some 1600. Then it was migration time and we moved down. Aside from the fact that we don't put our fires in a pit (rather on a hearth; something you would know had you ever taken the time to find out what you are condemning, James) there has never been a complaint about the fire. We are on good terms with the fire department as they largely recognise that clearing dead wood is the best way to reduce conflagration.

Another thing I'd like to address is the 'considerable' amount of money, time etc. spent on the behalf of the Tipi People without our consent or knowledge. Between yourselves, the Mosbys and other forces of control and oppression, tens of thousands of dollars have been spent on us as a problem requiring attention. By now probably more than we earn in two years. You can stop spending money on us and wearing it as a badge like it's virtuous. We can get along fine without such paternalism. In fact it's made our lives much harder. If you have extra money, you can get us something useful like new wool long-johns; ours are worn pretty thin and holey and since this hostility it has been a struggle to maintain a livelihood.

Sure, you've spent a lot of time and money acquiring deeds and investors to impose a top-down ideology of an ecovillage. Consider then that the inhabitants of this region  have given our whole lives to this place, bottom up; not just some inherited money with the dubious karma of industrial agriculture perpetuating the appropriation of indigenous lands.

To be within county compliance (as you keep fatuously saying 'legal'), we can apply for campground status. You can hand over the title for the small plot inhabited by tipi people, a plot you have already stated you have no interest in 'developing', to the Global Commons for a peopled conservancy and be free of all legal liability. These are only two of the many ideas that Rod knows about but dismisses without concern.

Again, what are you trying to achieve with such aspersions? The end of our relationship with this place? Not possible; we are in each other. Enmeshed in a way that you will only understand by feeling. Even if we were never to set foot on the wrong side of your fences.

What 'verbal attacks' have Kayla or I ever done to Rod or Brooks? What 'name calling'? Can you furnish one example? Yes, our relationship deteriorated after you guys made a misguided  secret, exclusive and executive decision about the lives of not just Ande and Kayla's family but another family bonded with intimate knowledge of place and every other of those who would certainly be inhabiting the Winter Grounds given half a chance and unmolested tenure. I can admit that both Kayla and I have spoken strongly with some of you. I can freely admit that with you, James, I expressed my frustration when you and Melanie came strolling up to my shop, pitched only two days previous in the hopes of finally getting some orders filled and I heard you, with entitled smugness, tell me to take it down. Compound this with being hassled and on the run for maintaining a connection with the ancestral homeland of our children.

Although I have no intention to 'return to the ranch' at this point, I have made no 'promise' to Rod. The first time the sheriff deputy came he left a hand-scrawled card on our door (we didn't see him because we were in town) saying the 'property' owner wants us gone in 24 hrs or "we will be back to trespass you". We called the deputy, after Rod and Brooks had told us to work it out with him, and asked if we could stay until the new year (after Sequoia's birthday, solstice and Christmas) he said that would be fine but he'd have to check with the 'owners'. He called back to tell us they wanted us gone in twenty four hours. We kept holding out for a shred of decency, empathy, compassion. Something, anything real. We refused to be motivated by the abstract fear of a symbolic culture. We were aware that meant meeting the fear with love, were we not to be moved by it. So we did and we do and, it turns out, we love as much as we are loved as much as we love...

We looked far and wide, we even followed Rod's only -not 'many' by any stretch of the imagination- idea to visit Deer Mountain in  California. Everything came back home to love and that motivation. You guys have offered more in the way of 'solutions' to the problem of cattle who trash this land than you have to the keystone people who care for it.

Again, collaboration is all we have ever asked for. At least now you have the honesty to say what's been true all along. It's a shame we have to go to such extremes to find some honesty. Yet somehow I still don't believe it, because above all else, even human relationships, you want your project to succeed. On  it's current trajectory your project has already failed.

Deep, real love,
-Ande, Kayla