"Share and learn and develop into viable transmission as much as you can devise of this Ancient Way . . ." remembering that it must be, "accurate always . . . beautiful if possible."

Paula Underwood

Keeper of the Old Things

This Learning Way may be used to enable personal growth. It also provides viable approaches to consensus building and sustainable decision-making while emphasizing a responsibility to our environment and the generations that will follow.

The following are suggestions for using The Walking People, Three Native American Learning Stories, The Great Hoop of Life, and Three Strands in the Braid, Guide for Enablers of Learning as effective "learning tools." These three books are available from Tribe of Two Press at:

You are invited to:

  • Start a reading group
  • Form an interactive "Circle of Learners"
  • Share and apply what you learn
  • Use the website as a resource
  • Attend a workshop or gathering

Start a reading group:

Many of those involved with the Past Is Prologue: A Learning Way (affectionately referred to, at times, as "Pipsters" or "Pipsqueaks") have, over the years, formed reading or discussion groups. They explore together the many layers of understanding inherent in each story as well as the many possibilities for learning and applications to our current circumstances.

Included at the end of this section are a few of the discussions that came out of a reading group in Kerrville, Texas, organized by Jeanne Lamar Slobod, editor of The Walking People. Jeanne had a deep understanding of the Oral History, in part from the editorial process itself, but also from her many discussions with Paula Underwood, Keeper of this vast oral history. Jeanne developed a true passion and love for this story and the People who accomplished the near impossible feat of preserving it over countless generations for our present day "listeners." These discussions are interesting in and of themselves, but they may also be helpful in fleshing out some of the subtleties within the stories. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to proceed.

An interactive "Circle of Learners":

Generally speaking, these circles are formed to work with the approaches to learning contained in The Great Hoop of Life. The material in this book comes from the workshops of Paula Underwood. She was encouraged to write it down as a resource for those who might not be able to attend a gathering, also as a refresher for those who later wished to use these approaches in their own lives.

Numerous people have started "Hoop Groups," including Paula's daughter, Laurie. The following is a personal account of her group's work with The Great Hoop of Life.

"When my mother passed away, several of my girlfriends responded by forming, with me, a group to study her works. We spent a full year studying The Great Hoop of Life Volume 1. I was amazed and gratified to witness their organic and deep understanding. I found us spontaneously working through the material three times in three different ways: first, individual pre-reading, then we took turns reading a paragraph aloud, then we discussed the material. We discovered both how deep and how accessible this work is, as well as the validity of the Walking People's early learning: 'Seek the wisdom of Ordered Council.' The value of each person's voice as they shared their thoughts and insights, and the value of their ears as they listened to our own, was immense."

Paula emphasized that there was an implied responsibility for those interested in applying the wisdom of this tradition to be accurate always. She also reminded those within the Interactive Circle of Learning of the following expectations:

  • A true effort to learn to apply the Rule of Six to life's assumptions.
  • A true effort to remember to speak one's personal wisdom three times in three ways, checking for understanding.
  • Respect for all views, all thoughts, and all experiences.
  • A true failure to judge others.
  • A true failure to assume understanding of their views.
  • A true willingness to listen, listen, listen further . . . with "New Ears" . . . to demonstrate the accuracy of your understanding so far . . . or lack thereof!

She then added, "any small progress in this direction will be enough . . . "

Each group will find their own unique way to organize and share this tradition when they meet. For those who might like a few suggestions for getting started, consider the following:

  • Have each person read the section you wish to discuss ahead of time.
  • Open the Circle by going around once "checking in" with the group. It is a time to catch up on how everyone is doing, as well as create a space for individuality to be honored. If it is your first gathering, it is a time for introductions.
  • Read the selected pages aloud, passing a book (if others do not have copies) from one person to the next around the circle.
  • Discussion follows.
  • The group may decide to choose a situation in their community or lives, and apply the approaches in the Great Hoop of Life to those circumstances. Only practice leads to greater understanding . . .

Consider also, a reading from The Walking People found on page 62. It is from the First Principal Telling, and describes the "etiquette" for gathering in a Circle. It is found on this website under "Central Fire."

The website: The website is a resource as well as a means to communicate your thoughts and or questions. It gives an historical perspective of this Tradition, introducing you to the Oral History of the Walking People, Paula Underwood, and the valuable lessons that were made available through her workshops.

It starts the process of community building. It brings people together in a unique way and provides a space for ideas to be heard and considered. It creates a space for great learning to occur.

The ancient wisdom on which this Tradition is based is a window through which to glimpse the thoughts, the feelings, and the life ways of one of Earth's ancient cultures. Consider what might be possible . . .

In Three Strands in the Braid, a Guide for Enablers of Learning, Paula encourages us, "find your own way to share these understandings with all those who over all the generations, have worked for their perpetuation. It is such a sharing that they intended."

Attend a workshop or gathering:

Currently two workshops are presented annually. A two-day gathering is held each summer, usually in July, and a one-day training workshop is offered each fall, usually in October. The Center for Innovative Learning at Schreiner University has adopted our program as one that fits into their mission in the community in Kerrville, Texas. These gatherings are held at the beautiful Cailloux Campus activity center.

Workshops are generally held to create an awareness of our ancient past, to enable us to understand the unique way in which we learn, and how we might deal with change in our lives and in our communities. These gatherings are intended to help people to help themselves while building an awareness of their responsibility to future generations. All are welcome to attend!