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Cultural and Ecological Recovery

Modern obsession with materialism, reductionism, positivism and hyper-consumerism is strangling all cultures around the globe. With technological advancement happening faster than culture can keep up with the disconnect of meaning, community and values have contributed toward an increasingly narcissistic and nihilistic world community. These products of the postmodern age, absent of responsibility, have been core afflictions contributing to the indifference with which much of humanity views and poisons the Earth. Any ecological repair must also have a modification of social values that will encourage the destructive behaviors to cease. In turn, no social change can be reasonably comprehensive without a substantial rewiring of our relationship to nature. For this improved rapport to be possible we must admit the failure of the western positivist conviction that the dimensions beyond physical sensory experience are without merit for consideration. Indeed, any view of nature as simply an object, or a thing will be unacceptable for one does not have relationships with things. A deep investigation into indigenous wisdom and, as Martin Prechtel illustrates, our indigenous soul, can help guide us to a reconnection with understandings that are not so much new as they will be reestablished. In some cases, we are fortunate to still have communities on the planet with a healthy memory of these values and behaviors. We do not know all the answers but we can learn from the cultures who have not forgotten and turn our study of our own cultural history to a focus on recovering these values where they were once cherished.

Cultural Triage and Healing

Amerikanoestudios launched in early 2011 in Esparza, Costa Rica, designed as a prototype school for revitalizing culture. English is the dominant instructional language medium however the material with which we begin the journey is first local, then ancestral. Relevance to the rest of the world is focused through these lenses so that while English is acquired , so is a strong identity and connection with the native language, community and traditions. Most English as a Second Language (ESL) programs cannot help but be imperialistic in action unbeknownst to the facilitators of the instruction. That is because most ESL methodology and, more importantly, textbooks, are produced in the English speaking countries. While this is understandable on the surface, it is also quite destructive to local cultures that do not identify nor share the same cultural values or heritage that is implicit in western countries. When one begins to unpack the cultural assumptions of the imperial language the messages that Western text books blatantly demonstrate is an attitude that says, “Be like us!” English is certainly important as the most common intercultural World Language and we love teaching it. However, we come from the perspective that every culture should start from a curriculum of cultural relevance, and therefore, we begin working in a community by learning about it and its stories with great depth and respect. We use that information as the content for beginning to learn English always emphasizing the lack of sophistication that English will be able to translate from the original indigenous tongue. The overall goal is to build back a bridge to the native and indigenous languages and a motivation in every learner to chose to cross that bridge on their own accord.


Regenerative Linguistics

"A language is not just a body of vocabulary or a set of grammatical rules. A language is a flash of the human spirit. It's a vehicle through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world. Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind, a watershed, a thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities." - Wade Davis

Language might be thought of as the DNA of culture. We are raised by our language to view the world, cosmos and multiverse according to the linguistic boundaries of the ideas that our lexicon and grammar make possible. Without conscious awareness we likely remain blind to values and perspectives that we do not have words for. At a time when the spread of English as a world language is exploding it is important to recognize the effects of language imperialism. That is, one language replacing another and effectively supplanting or smothering the preexisting language and culture. Perhaps to some, the question of what language people communicate within may seem trivial. However, language is not simply a method of communicating with another person. It is a way of thinking, a codex of history, a means not only of expression between humans, but between every facet of the natural world and the divine as well. When a language is destroyed it is equivalent of genocide.

Yet the acquisition of additional languages expands all regions of intelligence. It encourages peaceful and creative interaction. It is preserving, regenerative and empowering to both the learner and the culture of study. In addition we are better equipped to identify the values that are absent from our culture because we lack the vocabulary that establishes the idea and brings it to prominence. We realize that we are a reflection of what our language allows us to be. In this realization a responsibility is drawn to choose with care and intention, what language to propagate.

Goals for Linguistic Development:


  • Encourage holistic development of world languages.
  • Support of linguistic acquisition and enculturation of Foreign
  • Language citizens within a Second Language Community while
    maintaining Culture 1 Identity.
  • Recover and nourish endangered languages both locally and

Helpful Links

Research the languages that are currently at risk of being lost to the world's ethnoshpere in very little time.

United Nations Atlas of Endangered Languages

Martin Prechtel

Wade Davis

Dreams From Endangered Cultures

World Wide Web of Belief and Ritual



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