Minutes of Ikce Wicasa Tiospaye Annual Meeting Wednesday 23 May, 2018  7;00p.m. 1) We met at 1489 N Military Trail, #209 in West Palm Beach. Ten people attended, with several others intending to, but unable because of heavy wreck traffic on the interstate, being out of state, or various other legitimate reasons. Rick started by discussing one possible vision for the IWT, which is for it to acquire, develop, and maintain its own real property. The ideal scenario would be a minimum 40 acres with a retreat, conference- style building together with lodge area(s), Medicine Wheel, labyrinth, and hanbleceya areas. The idea is to create a destination location for teaching and ceremony, supporting the local population and eventually people in other states. It is also a way of giving the IWT autonomy where it is not vulnerable to any one individual or group of individuals, or other external forces. He discussed how he and Cindy are getting involved with real estate rehabs and long term rental properties in order to develop funding for this project and to sustain it long term. The idea is for the IWT to be self-sufficient financially and well unsulated from the influence of any one personality as mentioned above, or internally. At a point, we will add several more directors to the Board. We are also very fortunate in that we have LB on our Board of Directors, and to guide us through the legal maze. Rick and Cindy have established a corporation to act as the legal vehicle for any real estate transacted and we need to learn and follow the best practices of working with the IWT and the for profit corporation. We see a time when the meager teachings that Rick has tried to put into linear form to present to the general population will be further, and better, developed as others pick up this work. This is not just to serve the local population but other areas of the country as well. These ways have the capacity to bring about substantial change, to even reverse the acute environmental and social damage caused by the extreme materialism and self-centered lifestyles of so many two-leggeds. We sincerly hope this is a vision that you can ascribe to, become a long-term part of, and add your ideas and energy to. 2) Next, we took a vote by show of hands on the question of renewing our committment to continue doing ceremony as a group and at the location we are currently at. Ten voted “yes,” none voted “no.” So, we are good for another year. As a practical matter, any who would vote no wouldn’t be there anyway, or to lodge for that matter. But this is not just a formality or some arbitrary legal requirement. It is a conscious decision on our part that affirms what we are doing and who we are: It is a proclamation to Spirit. And it reminds us of our committment. 3) The floor was opened up for criticism and ideas. First, the criticisms: It was brought up that when new people come to ceremony and leave the lodge early, we should have someone posted outside to take care of them. We have had a couple of experiences this year where someone was blindsided by the experience and had a “melt down.” This happens, even when the lodge leader does her or his best to prepare any new people for it. And certainly, it is not a judgment or an indication that the person is “weak” or in some way “less than.” It is more a testament to the power of the cermony and that Spirit will bring our stuff to the surface when we open up, and for sure people who go into that little inipi have asked Spirit to help. For this to happen, we would need someone to volunteer. While Cindy has not been staying in beyond greeting the stones, we may have that conversation to see if she would be amenable to helping this way. In my view, the logical way to handle this is for whoever sponsored the new person to go out with them in the event they leave under duress. If that person goes out just to catch her or his breath and does not indicate any emotional or undue physical stress, there would be no need for a supporter. Especially if Cindy was already there. We would, of course, verify this in the moment. Another idea was advanced regarding bringing new people up to speed on initi protocols and ways of maximizing their time in ceremony. This is an excellent idea and one I have never really addressed at ceremony. This is simply because myself and other water pourers have boo koo plenty other work to do and things on our minds, as well as already being in that sacred space well before lodge actually begins. Not to make excuses, but that’s the way it typically is. Again, my first thought on this is that whoever sponsors a new person take point. This assumes the sponsoring person knows enough to begin with. If not --  no biggie -- that person will at least know who to go to for assistance. It’s been my observation that literally everyone who comes to ceremony in what I call that “core group” is eminently qualified to this level of teaching. So, we will initiate these ways immediately. Our own “hypocrisy” was pointed out at using paper plates and plastic forks etc. at the wopilas. While that’s not 100% accurate -- we actually now use plates and forks that are biodegradable in two weeks or less (Cindy gets them online -- those forks are actually made of sugar cane by-product.) I do agree the absolute best way would be to stop eating altogether. But that takes away our excuse to socialize so maybe the next best way is to use regular plates and utensils. The problem then arises: who do the dishes? But these are just logistical questions and we will figure them out in motion. So please start bringing your own plates and flatware, just like Jan always has. A standrad military-style mess kit works great. You can wipe it out, put it back together, and wash it at home, problem solved. But we’re still open to ideas on the best way to handle this and reduce out impact on Unci Maka. 4) Next we discussed what I call “the typical life of an off-reserve tiospaye.” Over the years I have obsreved, and been part of, many tiospaye and watched them begin, flourish, then shrink and ultimately close. This happens for any number of reasons, most commonly the basic structural problems referred to above; a single person having disproportionate control, sometimes minimal true understanding and dedication etc. “Spirit told me to shut it down” is another one I’ve  witnessed. And when you hear that one, you can know it’s BS. Why would Spirit ever tell anyone to stop praying, stop doing ceremony, stop coming together with others to do good? The other reason tiospaye stop and disband off-rez is they are virutally always self-serving. The people come together, do ceremony, go apart to a life most others in the tiospaye know very little about. Going out into the community, giving of our time and resources will actually keep us together as a vibrant, alive group doing someting good; Walking our talk. 5) Which brings us to Ideas: Good ideas were generated on the kinds of projects we could get involved with out in the larger community. These projects would be true giveaways–of our time and of our resources. We considered three very basic areas: environmental, social, and animals. There was good interest and discussion among us in all three areas. We soon realized trying to focus on just one idea (to start) was maybe not all that feasible. This is because of skills, interests, attraction/aversons to and so forth. What came of it was this: A) Environmental: Beach and road clean-ups. Laura McKenna stepped up to the plate and is finding municipal projects in Palm Beach and Broward counties, maybe eventually Miami-Dade as well. We are trying to be cognizant of where you all live. If you’re going to do clean-up, start in your own yard. Laura has already found several beach clean-ups and we’ll be putting out the call in the next several days. We also remain open to your ideas. As we find our way and as we draw more people into the circle with different abilities and interests, this will expand. B) Social: Here we discussed everything from elders in retirement homes, various veteran programs, and addiction recovery. What eventually formed out was establishing a Wellbriety group, something Fred, Wendy, and JD have been talking about. I offered to give up my day during the week at the studio to get this off the ground. There are other good programs that other people have developed and we will look at those after we get this ball rolling; there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. We are also looking to a time when we can help other tiospaye and interested groups get their own programs started. Whatever we do, has a life, meaning it will end at some point in the future. Knowing this frees us from the worry of being perfect, surviving indefinitely. The outcome is always the same; whatever we do serves a purpose for its time. This is the principal behind the giveaway. C) Animals: There are a number of significant animal rescue and rehabilitation facilities in the area. JD has agreed to take point on this also, to begin with what Busch Wildlife, South Florida Wildlife Center, and Panther Ridge need by way of volunteers. Once he has this information, we will be asking for volunteers to help on as regular a basis as we can maintain. 6) In summary: I recognize many of you are already doing some of these things. If you are, please open the door for the rest of the tiospaye. We can look at volunteering any number of ways; it’s inconvenient, I’d love to just don’t have the time, I don’t have the skills, I’m afraid of wild animals, and on and on. The benefits to you personally and to the tiospaye as a whole are immeasurable, especially in today’s political environment where international corporations are defacto countries. And none of them are shy about weilding the immense power they have. At the very least, helping others will defeat any sense of helplessness we might have, on the surface or deep down. This is a mindest changer that will have positive effects on the rest, and for the rest of your life. We all know the truth about the condition of the environment, the accelerating extinction of wildlife and loss of habitat, the pollution of air, water, and ground, the loss of topsoils, the fact that over 1.5 billion people live in abject poverty. I could  go on, but you see it, I know. We can make a difference as individuals. We can make a synergistically profound difference as a group. Corporations and their pocket politicians are not going to bring the change we need, no matter what kind of propaganda they pump out. Further, we need to stay well clear of politics and not just for legal reasons. Your politics are just that; yours. But whatever they are, they are just as valid as anyone’s. My approach is to focus on the solutions to the problems we all face and avoid getting all gnarled up in the anger-laden blame game. This is just a start. This thing with the real estate might work, it might not, I might leave the planet before it really takes off. All I can do is try to set something in motion that will matter. Beyond that, it’s Creator’s call. My prayer is that this vision of YOUR tiospaye is one you can believe in and get more deeply inolvled with, one you will help shape. We may not be able to lead a nation. But we can for sure help guide the individuals who make up the nation. be well, Cante Lute 25 May, 2018 PS: The IWT has a domain name and I still have bandwidth available on the mixedblood site. I hope to get a website started in the next several weeks. Also, in your travels should you spot a vacant house, one in disrepair, please let me know. Especially if it is not yet listed with a re-al-tor.
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