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Apprenticeship Learning is Basis of New Tribal Business

Portland, Oregon is the scene of a new twist in the New Tribal Revolution. There, a small group of naturalists and trackers have recently come together to form "Urban Tribes, School of Native Science", a project of Cascadia Wild!, a non-profit organization. The school offers apprenticeship-based study in learning animal tracking, ecology, and naturalist skills

"It has taken awhile for this to come to fruition," says Willem Larsen, head instructor and founder of Urban Tribes. "I found 'Beyond Civilization' quite inspiring, but didn't see how I could put my skills and experience to work in a tribal business. It finally dawned on me that though we cannot run away to the jungle, we can still honor and pass on the arts that shaped us as humans. Tracking is more than just following footprints, it is a way of thinking, perceiving, and experiencing. It is a relationship to the rest of the community of life."

The Tracking Apprenticeship Program brings mentors and apprentices together twice a week for a day of one-on-one and small group learning. By focusing on the completion of projects (population surveys, animal studies, and so on) tracker-mentors help apprentices obtain on-the-job training in the ancient discipline of tracking. Its services are aimed at homeschoolers, unschoolers, public-schoolers, and life-long learners.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Urban Tribes is no longer functioning and Willem Larsen has moved on to working for a conservation land trust in upstate New York. For more information email Mr. Larsen.

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