The Teaching Drum's purpose is to bring back the craft, foraging, and cultural practices of our native ancestors, to help us return to a balanced way of life. Learning is by immersion in the lifeway, in a wilderness setting with a small clan of people. This provides the opportunity to learn ancient skills and customs as they were actually practiced, and to live what is learned. Participants not only experience the wilderness as a learning environment, but also as their home, where they are able to imprint what they've learned by applying it to their daily lives. For example, someone could effectively learn how to tan a hide anywhere in a few days, but he/she wouldn't gain the design, cleaning, and repairing skills needed to create and maintain functional buckskin clothing.
We base our approach on the native way of sharing and acquiring knowledge: modeling and experience. This encourages participants to engage their own curiosities, talents, and awarenesses rather than looking to a teacher or book for answers. This gives them knowledge with substance, because it is based on personal experience rather than on what another person states or claims.
"All that is known and all that is to be known is contained in the book whose pages unfold as we walk. All the words that are written and will be written, all the skills, all the knowledge of craft and herb, all the awarenesses, all the wisdom of Elders past and to come, all that ever was or will be known is ever about us in the realm of creation. The air, soil, fire, and water, and all the beings of the rock and plant and animal clans who are made up of these, continuously pour fourth this boundless wisdom"
--She Who Talks With Loons (one of Tamarack's early guides)
A guide is careful to preserve the learning experience by supporting seekers on their journeys of discovery and allowing learning to take its own pace. Those who claim to be teachers actually can do harm because they feed people knowledge that is filtered by their eyes and limited by their words. The guide is a direction pointer and tool giver, helping seekers go directly to the source to receive knowledge first-hand, as it is meant for them.
Awareness and Attunement
Even though primitive earth skills are an important part of the immersion programs, our primary emphasis is on awareness and attunement. They are the craft; skills are the tools. It is easy to learn skills anywhere, and many adequately teach them. Precious few are devoting the time and dedication it takes to share the ancient customs that help to honorably and effectively apply the skills. When tools, craft, and customs are learned together, a way of life emerges. The Teaching Drum offers a place where you can live the lifeway, and then take it with you when you go.
The best way to learn and practice what we call the qualitative skills--customs, traditions, social and earth awarenesses, sensory attunement--is through a total immersion experience, with a small clan of people, over an extended period of time. The Teaching Drum programs offer the opportunity to peel away the fear-based patterns and shake off the numbness that keeps us from being fully present, so we can nourish our relationships and connections, deepen our awareness, and bring our unique gifts to light.