Four years ago, Nlaka'pamux elder Joseph Dunstan was contacted by his ancestors and he was instructed to build a self-sufficient shared-knowledge community. Joseph was given the design of 8 "modernized" traditional round-pit-house structures called Shishkins, he was told that the Youth would rise to the occasion and that others would come to help him build.
Now, others, including myself, who have similarly been instructed, or inspired, to build a self-sufficient and shared-knowledge community are coming together to develop and build what has been named as Shad' Kin.
Meaning "Our People", Shad' Kin is a 200 acre working ranch in the mountains above Lytton, British Columbia that is a mentorship environment for youth, of any nation, to develop their inherent cultural identity and where they can participate in a forum towards the development, construction, and eventual governance, of a self-sufficient and shared-knowledge community.
Skills and knowledge must be passed to the Youth in order for any community to survive and thrive and it must be an inherent function of the community, for all Youth, and not only for those with favorable socioeconomic standing or cultural identity.
When asked what Youth want in a community, the most common answers are to feel like they have a say in the functioning of their community, to raise a family in a safe environment that is free of substance abuse and violence, and quite simply, to learn.
At present, our program is as follows:
--Traditional food and medicine harvesting and processing for storage.
--Weaving, beadwork, clothing preparation and creation, and drum building.
--Landscaping, garden preparation, planting and harvesting, seed harvesting and storage.
--Harvesting and milling timber, woodworking, and furniture construction.
--Food safety, cooking and preservation.
--Film and documentary series development, production, post-production and presentation.
Our program will grow and our knowledge base will expand with each new mentor who comes to participate in Shad’ kin. Youth who come to Shad' Kin are paired with mentors according to mutual compatibility of skills, interests, gifts, and experience, making Shad' Kin an individualized experience.
Shad' Kin has already been proven to be a success. We have welcomed groups of Youth, both First Nations and Non-First Nations, who are all vying to come back, we have been approached by a South African Youth group who would like to come to Shad' Kin, we have already received funding support from a First Nation's fund in Olympia Washington, we are attracting mentors from many different cultures, including First Nations, and we have been approached by the British Columbia Department of Corrections and are investigating the possibility of a partnership for Youth in the system to come participate in Shad' Kin.
In order to promote Shad' Kin we are preparing for the launch of our Social Media Network that will allow other Eco-villages, communities, healing centers, societies, foundations, etc... to connect together for the purposes of distance education, collaboration and sharing knowledge, we have started approaching First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Youth councils, and we are developing a documentary series featuring the development and construction of our physical community.