The Restorative Practices Alliance and the Academy of Applied Social Medicine presents



Polyvagal Theory, Living from the Heart, Tracking, Weaving, Relating Across Difference, Mentoring

Old School

At one point in human history, for much of it in truth, our evenings were spent around the fire, listening to stories. Those in the community who had succeeded in making it to Elderhood shared the wisdom that they had gained surviving. These were the bedtime stories of humanity's youth. Around the fire we learned in the Original School: The School of Life.

Our esteemed global faculty is comprised of some of the world's leading experts in connection and wellbeing. In the Masterclass series, once per month we'll take a no-holds-barred deep-dive into the subject matter expertise of one our master teachers. These are people who have lived and breathed their discipline for a lifetime–many of them with well over forty years of experience in their subject area.

This LIVE class will happen through Zoom. In the class, our teacher will begin with a discourse on their field of specialty, with the conversation attuned to the needs of our global Restorative Practices community. After presenting, you'll join a small group for a brief debrief, and to identify the points of greatest interest and relevance to your lives and work. We will then re-convene, and Restorative Practices Convener Gabriel Kram will facilitate a conversation with our teacher, guided by your input, to take us deeper.

Ilarion Merculieff

Living from the Heart

Ilarion Merculieff is an Unangan (Aleut) Elder who was raised in a traditional manner on the Pribiloff Islands in the Bering Sea. The Unangan people have a continuous 10,000 year oral history, created the most densely populated linear mile of shoreline in the United States, and despite living in an Arctic climate walked everywhere barefoot. In hand-hewn anthropometric kayaks, they traveled to the tip of South America. As a boy Ilarion had an acha, a traditional mentor who trained him from the age of 5 to 13 in the ways of his tribe. He is a Kuyuux–an arm reaching out to the world–a bridge from ancient cultures to the modern. He is the President of the Global Center for Indigenous Leadership and Lifeways (GCILL), and in 2017 convened The Wisdom Weavers of the World, bringing together Elders from 13 cultures in Kauai to share the message of Indigenous people with the world. He has travelled and taught globally for thirty years, re-instilling respect for Indigenous Lifeways, sharing the teachings of Elders, and showing us how to live from our hearts. The Pribiloff Islands were traditionally home to 2 million Northern Fur Seals, and the Unangan people were enslaved by Russian fur traders, and then by the United States government, to kill them for their furs. Ilarion is the Author of Wisdom Keeper: One Man’s Journey to Honor the Untold History of the Unangan People, which will be the text for our masterclass. You can order it here.

John Stokes


In 1973 John Stokes, newly graduated from Princeton University, travelled to Australia to teach music at an aboriginal college. Here he encountered a group of Aboriginal Elders, including the legendary Pitjantjatjara tracker Jimmy James, who introduced him to hard ground tracking. Tracking–following trails–is the ultimate art & science of applied deep nature connection, the highest art of reading the pattern language of nature. It can be applied to finding animals, to our inner worlds, our dreams. In 1984 John joined forces with Tom Brown, Jr., the most well-known tracker and teacher of wilderness survival skills in North America. In 1985 John joined forces with Jake Swamp, a traditional Ganienkehaga (Mohawk) from Akwesasne, New York, who served as a royaner for the Wolf Clan for 30 years. Jake mentored John in the ways of the Haudenosunee (Iroquois Confederacy), including the Thanksgiving Address, the Great Law and the Great Peacemaker. In 1989 John met Parley Jansson Kakaka’ole, a distinguished Hawaiian spiritual leader and cultural presence who became his teacher in Hawaiian language and culture. For thirty-four years The Tracking Project, which John founded and runs, has been training hundreds of thousands of children and adults around the world in Tracking, the Arts of Live, and Survival Skills. The Tracking Project, in association with the Tree of Peace Society, has produced an edition of the traditional Iroquois Thanksgiving Address, Greetings to the Natural World, which will be the source text for our masterclass, is available in our store here.

Dr. Karla Scott


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