The way you live affects the way you think.
- Danny Billie, spokesperson for the Independent Traditional Seminoles
We come from different places. We are indigenous peoples, descendants of slaves, indentured servants, gentry, refugees, and voluntary immigrants. Regardless of how we, or our ancestors, came to this place, we find ourselves—people of all colors and nations—here to stay. This is now our home and the home of our children and great-great grandchildren.
Since the beginning of time, indigenous peoples have lived on this land—not as its masters, but as its partners and relatives. The knowledge of how to live with the land came from the land itself and was learned by the native/indigenous peoples over thousands of years. Remembering this wisdom, or learning it for the first time, is an ongoing and multigenerational process.
This requires that we create new cultures alongside with the ones that have always existed here. For these cultures to grow, defined by life and hope, by our dreams and aspirations, we must have places where the spirit and the imagination soar outside the constraints of the current order, where we learn again to be in community with each other and the places we inhabit.
To rediscover the language of this land, we need places where we can spend time—a long time—listening. To live again as members of a community of humans and nonhumans alike, we need places where we can work, eat, laugh, cry, learn, and play together—and together dream a new way of living. Woodbine Ecology Center is such a place—a project in living differently, learning, again, the lessons of the land, belonging. It is a place where old ways of knowing lead to new ways of being. It is a place where we can learn to live in balance and show our home the respect and love it deserves.
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