March 13, 2022
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the tradition even as I delivered them to you. — 1 Corinthians 11:1–2
The Ekvn-Yefolecv project located in the Birmingham, Alabama, rural area is a recipient of a Self-Development of People grant. This project is creating an ecovillage community that provides the opportunity for individuals and kin to efficaciously revitalize the Maskoke language, traditions and worldview while embodying a collective commitment to environmental sustainability, and to serve as a replicable archetype for other Indigenous communities to manifest similar models. The ecovillage has a trifold focus: language and cultural preservation, ecological living, and sustainable economic development.
Ekvn-Yefolecv Indigenous Maskoke Ecovillage will offer a variety of programs and research projects relative to issues affecting Indigenous peoples within the framework of environmental, cultural and economic sustainability. Programs will focus on education, training and deep holistic health. The major and dire impetus for the establishment of Ekvn-Yefolecv is preservation of the Maskoke language, which is classified as “definitely endangered” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and which is intrinsically connected to traditional culture, medicine and ceremony.
Twenty Maskoke community leaders have progressively deepened their relationship with each other and their commitment to Ekvn-Yefolecv through inclusive and comprehensive visioning processes, which have included cultural strong-talks and ceremonies; land exploration, including finance options; and feasibility assessment and strategic planning. The project is owned and controlled by the founding Indigenous Maskoke members of Ekvn-Yefolecv. The primary beneficiaries of Ekvn-Yefolecv are the project members — the ecovillage residents — who will be able to practice their culture in a living, working village environment.
The project seeks real long-term change by:
1. Empowering the current language, immersing students in a new learning space more conducive to Maskoke language acquisition and equipping them with fluency in the language to reverse the currently projected road to language extinction.
2. Transitioning residents to healthy diets based on foods organically grown within the ecovillage while simultaneously improving the overall mental, physical and spiritual health of all residents.
3. Empowering women through the reclamation of women’s agricultural roles in farming and spirituality, especially through plant propagation and equipping young girls, as well as older women (who did not have the opportunity to learn women’s knowledge as young girls), with knowledge of plants and traditional holistic healing practices.
4. Conducting traditional ceremonies to support language and culture preservation and spiritual healing.
5. Reintroducing Lake Sturgeon into the Coosa watershed.
All members of the founding committee range from ages 18–75 and volunteer with the project on a monthly basis, and the committee makes all decisions by consensus to advance the project.
It was an honor to visit with this group and to support their work by awarding a grant to their project.
Rev. Gail Porter Nelson, Member, Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, March 13, 2022, the Second Sunday in Lent (Year C)
Today’s Focus: Self-Development of People
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
Lord God, we are so thankful for the various gifts you have bestowed upon us. These gifts that are intended to uplift, sustain and be a help to your people wherever they may be and whatever the need. Self Development of People (SDOP) is that community of faith that honors your desire that your people strive, open the hearts of those who call you their God to join with us through their giving to continue the good works you have blessed. This we pray in the powerful name of Christ Jesus, Amen.