The mission of the Reinhabitory Institute is:
● To reinhabit homelands that feed and clothe us.
● To become communities balanced within
our home watershed and the web of other species
to generate a satisfying and sustainable way-of-life.
We are especially interested in educating children, with a particular focus on at-risk children. Young adults who aren’t going to college need an honorable path to begin their lives productively.
Working together toward the same/similar goals involves collaborating across traditional lines of differences. Finding common denominators that allow people to find common cause beyond geopolitical divisions is our skill: the river, children, the weather, our history and how we see it.
On a deeper level, individuals respond to common issues regarding our human experience, the importance of community, our regard for and dependence on our ancestors, and use of the elements we share: land, water, and air.
A concept developed at the end of the twentieth century for the universities, industry and the sciences to work together, informs our projects in the east and west of continental United States. Rural enlivens urban, west fertilizes east, the working poor and the privileged find common ground.
We have experience respecting borders to meet funding objectives and yet look for funders–both private and public–to enjoy collaborating across jurisdictional lines as much as we do.
Men and women are finding new ways to define their roles, outside of the traditions that constrain gender relations in the twentieth century, creating antagonism. We have an ongoing interest in investigating the matrilineal tribal ways of many native peoples on this continent, ways that create gender equity while encouraging and supporting the differences biology has imprinted on each gender. We see great changes in the current generation in terms of balancing relations between men and women, fathers and mothers.
Much has been lost. But much of this loss is still within the memory of living individuals or recent history. A short interruption occurred during which time women did not breastfeed their children and have their babies at home, when old people died in hospitals rather than in their beds, when the symptoms of sickness were not soothed with medicines formulated from ingredients found in kitchens, backyards and along roadsides. Petroleum was discovered little more than a century ago. We can recover if we have the collective will to do so.
Much has been damaged. Native people, in whose homelands those of European blood also live, have lost language and culture as well as homeland and their ancient knowledge of it. Reinhabitation involves honoring natives’ relationship with their homeland and requesting the knowledge to become a fellow inhabitant, in harmony.
The web of life has been torn, perhaps irreparably, in which species symbiotically harmonize with each other’s range and reproduction. Some practices have got to stop: the wholesale use of petroleum-derived poisons to “solve” perceived consumer problems has poisoned our landscape and the landscapes of the creatures who share life with us in our watersheds in our watersheds.
The four elements–earth, air, fire and water–are out of balance, influencing even the weather and seasons. Our flesh and the flesh of our brothers and sisters in the plants, animal and bird kingdoms are saturated with toxic chemicals. Recovering from the disaster of the Petroleum Age is at the top of our list, together. This is closely related to the disaster of ‘run amuck’ 19th-20th century capitalism, the close of the era of robber barons and trickle down economics.
We believe in the process of recovery, in nature’s ability to restore itself when the source of harm is removed.