Recently, I had the honor of interviewing three “20 somethings” who are following their passion, honing their skills and trying to make a difference in the world. The three are Sespe Miller, Marra Clay, and Coley Krauss. Each of their contributions will be posted over the next three weeks. Below is Sespe Miller’s story:
My interests in Earth-based skills were sparked as a young boy. Spending a lot of time outside; growing up on the farm; and my father taking me out hiking and backpacking in the mountains. Then I started reading Tom Brown’s book, The Tracker. It is about two boys who were taught ancestral skills by an Apache man. I tried to get outside as much as possible in the “front country” around here, hiking, swimming, just being a kid growing up in the wilds. .
Then I started reading survival guides and how to live out in the woods and crafting. When I was 16, I was building traps and one time I caught a scrub jay in a snare and I didn’t know what to do! I was startled because I had actually caught something. I loved to go to the library and find books on ancestral crafts, hunting, tracking, birds, and plants. Later my interests turned to basketry.
I know basketry is not very popular, but I really enjoy it. It is very internal and I am connecting with a living source and creating something from it. I went to an ancestral skills gathering and the teachers had willow backpacks that they had woven and I was very inspired. This is where I heard about my basketry teacher who lives up north. She does Native American replica work for museums and is legendary. I stayed at her house for two months working with her.
I know that what I am doing is un-traditional, and may seem unnecessary, but I feel deeply that these skills are needed. It has helped me remember what humans valued in the past and develop a deeper connection with the Earth. In many ways, I am living my life in uncharted waters and following my heart.