Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Aren't you just teaching "survival skills"?

No. Yes. Fire, fiber and flint (aka useful rocks) are the 3-Fs -- or foundational skills -- for all human culture. These provide the technosophy underpinning human endeavor throughout the ages. Trivializing these skills ignores the inherent wisdom found in earth-based thought and process. Native, earth based experiences carry inescapably vast lessons about our human condition.

Q. How long have you been teaching outdoor skills?

Native Earth was formed by Russell Cutts in 1989. Incorporated in 1992 with the idea of going non-profit, we've since just simplified to a proprietorship. Instead of employees, Native Earth is dozens of intensely experienced consulting educators. And although Russell began his natural history teaching career prior to '89, other instructors easily exceed his years... Some have taught for decades, and lived the distinct lifestyle as well!

Q. Are you a Native American Indian?

Russell Cutts is a seventh generation American of mixed Scots-Anglo-Creek descent; he was made an Honorary Member Eastern Band Cherokee in 1999. Other instructors are members of federally and state recognized native tribes. Many of our educators are not Indian, but may have apprenticed in those communities. We have a blend, as does America.

Q. How much do your programs cost?

It varies greatly. Initial consults or programmatic development is sometimes gratis or greatly discounted (although travel, per diem and lodging are not). Native Earth workshops are usually crafted specifically by request, and so are impossible to predict, budget-wise. We are open to hourly, day and weekly rates. As well, costs can be mitigated if programs are multiple or annual. Another way to answer is: we've donated our time and been paid up to $800 an hour. We do our best to accommodate everyone's bottom line.

Q. Are Indians okay with you sharing their ancient -- and often sacred -- knowledge?

Humans are native to this earth. These skills are earth-based, people-skills. No one tribe or nation, so-called race or ethnicity, could ever lay full claim to them. And anyway, truth be known, our native friends and family are -- literally -- among our most loyal and rewarding clientele!

Q. What kind of programs do you offer? Are they dangerous?

Life is lethal. Native Earth adventures are not. We have a long track record teaching thousands of people young and old delicate skills -- like firemaking, knots, knife work and ancient weaponry -- with mere nicks and bruises. Then again, you play with sharp, you gonna get cut. Egos sometimes get bruised, as our skills are not "television." Learning outdoor skills requires different techniques and callouses than X-Box, granted, and only experience suffices to learn them.

Q. Do you teach lecture-style, multi-media or activity-based?

Yes. We've been hired for our skills in all of those, and enjoy them. The genuine preference -- and really required -- is an outdoor nature-immersed walk with one or more foci, relying heavily on hands-on experiential activity.

Q. How many people does Native Earth employ?

One? Ten? Dozens. We intentionally keep our physical presence small -- in keeping with our mission and vision. However, we use a variety of consultants in our curriculum development and are proud of our ever-growing list of educators. Our instructors can be found across North America and can include university professors, museum professionals, homesteaders, farmers, school teachers, survivalists, natives among others!

Q. Are your programs hard? Do they require strenuous labor?

Not usually. Challenging is the word. With moderate effort, reasonable dedication, sense of adventure and an open mind, most folks of any age succeed in our skills and enjoy our classes. Well, and patience, too, is good. Of course.

Q. Are your programs religious or evangelical?

No. It has been said that earth skills are of the hand and eye, but also of the heart and mind. This is true. Learning from nature can very much possess an inherent sacred quality, but this is more reflective of our interrelationship with "Mother Earth" than a dogmatic literality. Ancient wisdom, earth ecology, self-reliance -- Native Earth programs prosyletize for a greater commitment to stewardship of earths finite resources, and the Seventh Generation.

Q. How far will you travel to teach?

Within reason, only your budget will determine that. We have educator contacts across North America, and in some cases, meso-America.

Q. Is that a real fire?




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