Teaching the Universal Human Values of Unity and Equality through Indigenous Dance, Music and Storytelling
Severe budget cuts in federal and state funds affect the poorest school districts the most, making cultural and educational programs virtually erased in the curriculum. While federal funds for Title I schools cover areas needed to meet state-mandated academic standards, they do not cover supplementary arts, multicultural, or other character education programs that other schools enjoy. To provide this type of educational equity to Title I schools, we must rely on outside private funding sources. We cannot continue to allow underprivileged children to be marginalized from such rich educational opportunities. Thus, in keeping with the Patricia Locke Foundation’s roots in in Indigenous values, we are responsible for our children and must ARISE to SERVE members of the SEVEN GENERATIONS.
The Hoop of Life School Assembly Program is a 60-90 min presentation that incorporates North American Indigenous Flute music/songs, sign language/prayer, hoop dance explanation and presentation by Kevin Locke incorporating 28 hoops and ending with a participatory hoop dance, taught briefly by Kevin Locke to children and youth. The hoop dance is a choreographed prayer invoking the universal metaphor of the hoop - a symbol that for all peoples represents; peace, unity, beauty, balance, continuity and harmony. It is a prayer for restoration to wholeness and wellbeing; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually not just as individuals but collectively with all of humankind and creation. It is the design that the one Creator has stamped upon all of creation and connects us with that whole. The hoops of 4 colors represents the extensive paradigm of 4’s which includes; directions, winds, seasons, phases of day and night, stages of the moon, sun and stars, the stages of life as we progress through childhood, parenthood, grandparent hood and great grandparenthood. The colors also invoke human diversity… the hoops of humanity. Since homes and communities are all in the shape of a hoop, the design is also synonymous with the socio-political configurations of human society. The 28 hoops used in the dance represents the days of the particular 28-day lunar cycle when all of the signs of Spring appear. Since the multicolored hoops represent human diversity, the hoop designs symbolize the life and vitality that appear when diverse kindreds unite in ever changing tableaus of designs portraying signs of Spring. The Springtime is of the unity of humankind. A Springtime that Autumn shall never overtake and which is foretold and anticipated (in diverse symbolism) by all peoples. The program often ends with children/youth/teachers performing the hoop dance with Kevin and doing a round dance (friendship song) together led by Kevin. Following the Hoop of Life General Assembly, Kevin visits requested classrooms to delve into concepts in deeper manner. These school assemblies and smaller classroom presentations embrace a positive message that students are in dire need of receiving, especially in today’s current events.
Your sponsorship of $150,000 brings Kevin Locke’s Hoop of Life character education programs to a total of 100 federally designated Title I schools (schools with a population of at least 40% low-income students) within metropolitan cities and rural-based Indigenous communities! The Kevin Locke -North American Indigenous cultural programs have been used successfully over 40+ years to teach the universal values of unity and equality, as well as the harmony, balance, and inter-connectedness of all creation. This universal human truth is taught using the multi-colored, and multi-faceted, Indigenous symbol of the “Hoop of Life”. We invite you to support this effort to promote universal human values through Indigenous Cultural Arts to under-served schools.
Kevin Locke is an internationally recognized master traditional folk artist, visionary hoop dancer, Indigenous Northern Plains flute player/recording artist, cultural ambassador and educator. A citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and coming from the ancestral line of Lakota and Anishinabe, he self-identifies as a World Citizen. For the past 40 years, Kevin Locke uses his traditional arts to emphasize the universal impulses of the human heart towards the oneness of humanity and the nobility of the human spirit. His favorite audience remains children and youth who readily receive these messages in the simple yet profound format that he presents.
Patricia Locke, the mother of Kevin Locke, is an American Indian of Hunkpapa Lakota and White Earth Chippewa heritage. She is the former MacArthur fellow who worked to preserve indigenous languages and helped start 17 Native American tribal colleges. For her activism in Indigenous religious rights and education, she was posthumously inducted to the National Women's Hall of Fame. Patricia Locke believed in building bridges for diversity and inclusion using the power of Indigenous wisdom and creativity.
- Familiarize school audience with Indigenous Flute music samples/oral traditions
- Teach school audience a prayer/song in the Lakota language
- Teach school audience phrases in Indigenous sign language
- Convey complex concepts such as oneness of humanity with simple symbols/stories/universal metaphors
- Physically engage students in learning by participatory hoop dance and round dance with brief tutorial
Materials: All materials needed for assembly programs are part of artist’s presentation and need not be purchased, produced or shipped separately.
What is North American Indigenous Flute? In North America the flute is used to instrumentalize vocal compositions that express romantic themes, much as the birds that coax life into the world. This is one of the oldest musical traditions that all members of the human family share. Kevin Locke is one of just a few individuals that actively perpetuates the traditional musical genres specific to what makes the North American Indigenous flute unique. In his flute, you can hear the North American Indigenous Flute songs that range from love songs, prayers, greeting and honoring pieces encompassing virtually all aspects of community life. What is presently known as the “Native American flute” has been invented in modern times and promulgated internationally and people mistakenly assume that it represents an authentic North American musical esthetic, which it does not. Because this modern flute is so ubiquitous, it has almost erased any awareness of the original pre-reservation era instrument. Kevin Locke is committed to bring this original heritage of North America back to life and in the hands of children and young adults! Because the original pre and early reservation period vocal genre from which the flute melodies are derived contain valuable idioms, vocabulary, sentence structures and expressions in the original languages they lend themselves as a catalyst to Indigenous language renewal initiatives. The formulaic rules for composition in the original genre are perfect for personal expression. All North Americans can take great pride and inspiration in participating in this unique home-grown tradition.
How is North American Indigenous Flute being brought back to life? In order to revitalize the pre-reservation era flute instrument in its authentic tuning system, and to allow for wider dissemination of the Indigenous flute for classroom use, Kevin Locke and his colleague Rich Dube created an Indigenous Flute Making and Playing Workshop. Students, teachers and parents love the clarity and adaptability of the Indigenous Flute to the classroom. The design of the Indigenous Style North American Flute is based on a flute in Kevin’s own collection, grandfather Powasheik’s over 100 year old flute. Kevin Locke and his colleague Rich Dube developed a flute kit from affordable material that is assemble-ready including the pre-drilled flute body and components. The tuning on the Powasheik flute is diatonic (the do, re, mi scale) as are virtually all of the flutes indigenous to North America. In comparison, the contemporary tuned flute, known commonly as the “Native American Flute”, has a pentatonic tuning that was transferred from another culture outside of North America. It is Kevin Locke’s vision to honor the authentic history, tradition and teachings of the Indigenous North American Flute. It is the hope of projects like this to set the historical record straight.
The Indigenous North American Flute is affordable, comes in an assemble-ready kit and its tuning is historically accurate. The unique magic of the flute workshop is that students are engaged in making the flute themselves. The assembly is an easy step-by-step process led by Kevin Locke at the start of a workshop. Students gain a sense of pride and accomplishment from learning how to make their very own instrument, which is then magnified when they learn how to play it using the Instructional Manual/Song Book developed by Kevin Locke and Rich Dube for Level 1 learners. Once students feel connected to the beauty of the flute, it opens the door to recognizing the beauty within themselves. When they feel and see the beauty within themselves they are able to see and connect with that which is good around them.
Would you like to partner in revitalizing the Indigenous North American Flute and bring this cultural heritage back through supporting Kevin Locke’s curriculum in K-12 schools and beyond?
Vision: Imagine that healthy and organic food options are made readily available for K-12 students and their families who live in “nutritional food deserts” through a school program that incorporates growing their own produce in a classroom without the need for weeding, landscaping or soil, and with minimal use of water. Imagine the organically grown fruits and vegetables are then used to provide children healthy lunches at schools. Now imagine the produce is so plentiful that students take baskets of vine-ripened fruits and vegetables home to their families every week.
How: Tower Garden® is an aeroponic growing technology that is designed to do just that with an award-winning core educational curriculum. Tower Garden® growing system has a proven and established track record in low-income school districts to enhance student performance in science, math, and literacy, as well as increased student retention and graduation rates, in addition to providing healthy food options. Students in poorest school districts suffer from malnutrition and other health conditions such as childhood obesity, juvenile diabetes and heart disease all of which are linked to growing nutritional deficits. In these neighborhoods, grocery stores offer an extremely limited selection of produce and almost no organically grown produce. Aeroponic systems use water, liquid nutrients and a soilless growing medium to quickly and efficiently grow more nutritious, organic, vibrant, flavorful, and aromatic produce. The result is nutritious and organic food that fuels resilient communities. School gardens project is dedicated to cultivate minds and fuel the bodies in a school-based model using vertical growing. Key educational benchmarks and school performance data in existing school gardens around the United States and Canada show that healthy students and healthy schools can transform communities that are fragmented and marginalized into neighborhoods that are united and thriving. The Patricia Locke Foundation is positioned to be the convener of a collaboration between school boards/ grassroots education agencies and aeroponics resources. We envision that the success of school gardens will spread from community to community promoting healthy nutrition and high-quality education for children and youth.
Opportunity for Partnership: Would you like to sponsor classrooms and schools in the most neglected under-served school districts in the United States? Would you like to impact a child’s health and educational performance and be a part of cultivating hope?
Patricia Locke Foundation is dedicated to development and dissemination of educational materials for the sole purpose of correcting erroneous information and establishing historical truths regarding Indigenous peoples, wisdom, culture and ways of life. With your donations, we are dedicated to make these material freely available to all people to undo the social and historical conditioning around the "invisible Indian".
Kevin has co-authored 57 articles on "Indigenous Messengers of God."
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