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SFZC Engages in Healing and Reconciliation with Indigenous Nations


Maija West and Megan White from Healing and Reconciliation Institute, Abbot Tenzen David Zimmerman, Tom Little Bear Nason, and Abbess Fu Schroeder. Photo by Tova Green.

By Tova Green

In late July, fifteen San Francisco Zen Center leaders and employees members from Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, Green Gulch Farm, and City Center participated in a two-day coaching targeted on fostering a deeper understanding of therapeutic and reconciliation with Indigenous Nations. The group gathered in the Green Gulch Farm yurt with trainers Megan White and Maija West from the Healing and Reconciliation Institute and Tom Little Bear Nason, Tribal Chairman of the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County.

One of the questions for reflection was: How do I personally, and as a part of San Francisco Zen Center, wish to be a “good guest” on ancestral land of indigenous individuals who haven’t consented to our being there?

Participants had been requested to write down private land acknowledgments as a method of recognizing the painful historical past of colonization and genocide associated to the land that has been appropriated for our use.

Jana and Tom Nason

Jana Nason and Tom Little Bear Nason. Photo by Michael Troutman.

Tom Little Bear Nason remembered assembly Leslie James, Tassajara’s Senior Dharma Teacher, over 4 many years in the past, when he was 17 and she was in her 30s. He has lengthy relationships with Greg Fain and Linda Galijan, clergymen who’ve lived at Tassajara for a few years. He mentioned he feels that these at Tassajara are “like family,” and that the connection was almost excellent. Little Bear has befriended Tassajara in some ways. He has helped with varied points of development, particularly leveling constructing websites, and grading and/or repairing the highway in years when the county didn’t achieve this.

The Esselen Tribe of Monterey County group was based with the objective of constant cultural traditions and preserving the cultural heritage of the historic tribes which can be situated inside Monterey County, alongside with defending and preserving acknowledged and unrecognized sacred lands and archaeological websites. After a few years of labor and negotiations, the tribe now has land of their very own—1100 acres in Big Sur.

Going ahead, San Francisco Zen Center anticipates that the helpful relationship between Tassajara and the Esselen Tribe will proceed to thrive as we discover methods we will mutually profit from the connection between us.

For extra data on SFZC’s relationship with the Esselen Tribe and an interview with Chairman Nason, see the Fall 2020 Impact report.

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