More about Origins Project

The Kalahari San Bushman are our oldest living ancestral kin. They are masters of ancient community and nature connection wisdom, which those of us living in the modern world need to survive. Yet, the San’s culture - our deepest wellspring of human survival and regenerative wisdom - is in danger of going extinct.

Their ancestral lands, hunting, and water rights have been compromised by modern forces of development. They dream to have access to their traditional lands, where they would be free to live the full Bushman life they desire to live once again - without the oppressive forces that have stressed their culture to the brink.

As genetically the original humans; the first indigenous people; the only people to have never migrated out of Africa, and the longest continuous hunter-gatherer culture on Earth for 100,000 years, the San continue to live in harmony with each other and with nature. They hunt and forage, keeping traditions and customs alive that nourish our true nature of egalitarian respect, empathy and care for each other, while living in wise reciprocal stewardship with the land. They embody connection of nature and community as the most ancient, and most human, birthright.

Even after centuries of abuse, marginalization, and relocation, the San’s essential customs remain intact - a testament to the resilience of their connection practices.

Beginning in 2010, impassioned people from eleven countries from the West have visited them under the inspired vision and leadership of Jon Young and Dr. Nicole Apelian. These visits of naturalists, professionals, educators, students, families, and community builders, and the resulting relationships have had a profound effect on the revitalization of the San’s fundamental dignity. They have said, “You always bring the nicest people.”

When we visit, our Bushman family guides us through the African Velt (bush). They come alive, happily sharing their age-old knowledge of plants, animal tracks, hunting, bird language, and survival practices. From the friction fire they make before us, they feed us a mid-day snack of roasted nuts and berries, and quench our thirst by serving slices of a tasty water-saturated tuber. Practices handed down for thousands of generations naturally mentoring from elder to child in their passing on of traditional knowledge. Through a translator, they answer our questions of how they care for themselves, each other, and the land they are so part of that supports them. Under the waning light of day, they invite us to dance with them around their community fire in celebration of sharing their culture. We experience being fully human together.

Because of their gentle and generous nature, elders in the San community freely mentor us in their ways of regenerative culture. They know the trouble we are in with our “ropes of connection” having become frayed, as our modern path of disconnection, and the resulting social ills, have caught up with us.

Our curiosity mentors the San’s culture forward into their future, as their culture mentors us back into deep connection with our human heritage, in symbiotic reciprocity. We pollinate the flower of their culture with our curiosity, and they bloom. The San activate our nature and community connection birthright, as we return home with embodied connection wisdom to disseminate in our modern communities.

They are clearly visionary in their commitment and efforts to restore their cultural practices that have been compromised, and are unified to work in partnership with Jon and Nicole to co-create a cultural education project of mutual cultural repair.

The ancient story of the San Bushman, and the story of modern people are indelibly intertwined, as the “ropes of connection” between our universal past, and regenerative future strengthens. The wisdom of the most ancient becomes an imperative for the regeneration of the most modern.

Help Create a Legacy of Ancestral
Connections for Future Generations

With your donation to the Origins Project, you become a co-creator in spinning a powerful and durable rope of connection between our ancient past of sophisticated wisdom and our re-awakened future.