The skills that we practice and teach at Coast Live Oak School are skills that the native people of Southern California have practiced and perfected over thousands of years of living in the very places we live now. These skills are also skills that all of our ancestors practiced and taught at some time in the past. They are the skills that indigenous people around the world use on a daily basis to meet their basic needs. These skills are common human life skills, and they link all human beings to the living Earth and to each another.
When we remind ourselves that personal computers have only been around for about 40 years, that the car has been in common use for less than 100 years, and even a metal tool we take for granted, like a stainless steel knife, was a rare, highly valued family heirloom only 1000 years ago, it puts basic wilderness skills in perspective. Human beings have spent most of our time on Earth doing the things listed below on a daily basis, and in the process, gaining an intimate understanding of their local natural places and deep connection with all the living beings with whom they interacted.
These native and ancestral wilderness skills are a door to many other areas of knowledge: language studies, music, art, ecology, history, archaeology, mathematics, physics, botany, biology, geography, hydrology, and geology, to name a few. In all our classes, especially youth and family classes, we integrate native and ancestral skills with these other areas of knowledge.
Basic Native and Ancestral Wilderness Skills: