Paintings on this page by Frank Howell, one of the cornerstone artists of the Southwest Native Art Movement

Walking Ancient Paths to Peace

Three Indigenous Learning Stories

Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

The spring offering of this session has been completed.  

Stay tuned for new opportunities to explore the stories! 

 And Learning . . is so valuable . . that it is therefore sacred.

A Life filled with Learning is the greatest gift of all.  A Life so lived is celebrated . .

    . . . There are songs to be sung that honor the beauty of such a Life, reminding us all of our purpose . . and our potential.  

Paula Underwood,
Keeper of a 10,000-year-old oral Oneida history

Over the centuries, Paula’s ancestors focused on how to gain clarity in times of great change.  Their survival depended on it.  As a bridge toward understanding, as a way of practicing life without falling over its cliffs, as a way of honing a deep appreciation of the possibilities . . . the People evolved Three Learning Stories . . . One for each fundamental aspect of this Life Experience . . 

One for Mind

 . .  the way we identify and process information

One for Body

 . . the way we live on the earth

One for Spirit

 . . awareness of our relatedness to each other, to Earth, and to the Universe.


In Paula's words, "Each of these stories is based on an historic circumstance.  Each is modified and enhanced to encourage, to create a space in which new learning may occur.  Used again and again down through the centuries, they enable each to develop the skills necessary to use Life Experience effectively.

In this way, they function like an access code to the data base that any gathered experience affords.  They are like simple-yet-complex piano exercises that enable the later playing of great symphonies.  

It is with great joy that we bring you these Three Learning Stories - - Three Strands in the Braid of Life."

We invite you to weave these three strands into your braid of understanding – bringing peace within yourself and to others.


Who Speaks
for Wolf?

How the People, when faced with difficult choices, learned to make good decisions.

"Almost at the edge of the circle of light cast by Central Fire - - Wolf was standing. His eyes reflected the fire's warmth with a colder light. Wolf stood there, staring at the fire. A boy of eight winters was watching Wolf - - as immobile as Wolf - - as fascinated ... Why does Wolf stand there and only watch the fire?"

Many Circles,
Many Paths

How the People learned to co-exist with
their enemies and find peace within
their community.

"It was dark in the clearing, only occasional fires lit the faces that surrounded them. The night sky was overcast darkening even the stars. Many voices were heard here and there among the houses. Something was being discussed that no one at all found easily resolved. For a long time now our strongest efforts ..

Winter White &
Summer Gold

How the People learned to plan for the seventh generation.

"Last winter was difficult. A winter of too much snow followed a summer of too little rain. Little kernels of future life had been carefully stored preserved as one preserves the future of a Whole People. During the winter no one asked for this corn. Not one cry was heard even from the smallest of the People. Each morning .."

Learning stories are not fables, parables or folk tales. These stories are designed to engender questions rather than provide answers to them. When read together, learning stories enable us to learn from each other as much as from the words and images. The stories also enable us learn from ourselves, to liberate us rather than define us. As Paula would say, "How much peace are you willing to work for?  Let us walk the path together."


Walking Ancient Paths to Peace

Three Indigenous Learning Stories

Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

Five 2-hour on-line sessions every other week at 8 am PT USA beginning April 14, 2023 

In these interactive gatherings we'll hone our listening skills as we dance between small group sharings and the community as a whole.  In this way, we weave community and arrive at new understandings.  Together we'll discover ways to apply our learnings to our daily lives.

Session 1:  We'll weave our learning community into being with an ancient practice for bringing forth our unique gifts and talents.   We'll introduce the three indigenous stories.  One for Mind.  One for Spirit.  One for Body.

Session 2:  Who Speaks for Wolf?  The People learn the value of listening to the voices of all beings when making decisions.

Session 3:  Many Circles, Many Paths The People work to co-exist with new settlers in order to maintain their peaceful way of life.

Session 4:  Winter White & Summer Gold The People learn to sustain themselves for future generations in the midst of challenging circumstances.

Session 5:  We'll integrate these wisdoms into our daily lives - each person sharing their learnings with the group.

See what past participants say ...

"Paula's stories have played a big part in my life. They are helping me see and honor important things that have been taken for granted. What I thought was a window turns out to be a mirror too."

Lana Leanard
Storyteller, Longmont, CO

"Wolf for me is the harmony that exists in Nature. I am learning to see indigenous stories as something deeply philosophical, not just as colorful folklore."

San Antonio, TX
Workshop Participant

"The story taught me not to mess with Nature. Also how Man and Nature are like brothers who always fight."

Marc Choyt
Reflective Jewelry, Santa Fe, NM

"... thanks to Paul for her gifts to us. If the learning stories were her only contribution to us in this lifetime, it would be so much more than most. "

Monique Miller
ED, Carrying Capacity Network, Washington, D.C.

"Your works bring great joy into our lives and help our hearts to sing."

Carole Gilmore
Phoenix, AZ

Your Guides

Stephanie Nestlerode, MSW
7th Generation Labs

Stephanie Nestlerode is a social worker by training and a strategic planner by trade. In her words, “The future we create is the legacy we leave the world’s children.“

She has over 40 years of experience coaching community coalitions and organizations through change. Her clients have ranged from Boeing and the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Air Force to the City of Austin, Kaiser Permanente and small non-profits. Her specialty is providing learning opportunities that inspire, guide, and cultivate skills. Her clients learn how to generate the energy, ownership, and structure required for strategic thinking, successful implementation and continuous learning – creating efficient and effective systems for serving the common good.

As Chief Synthesizer for 7th Generation Labs, she is joining with kindred spirits to create a treasure trove of ways to learn what matters.

Odette Bovenberg, Chief Storyteller
Rotterdam Netherlands
Writes, asks, structures, learns and co-develops 7GL offerings

“More indigenous material?” the eyebrows of my husband ask. I am reading a 7GL flyer. Grateful for the friend who mailed it. “It is a course based on the work of Paula Underwood,” I smile.
la Underwood, keeper of a 10.000 year old wisdom tradition. Her words reach me. She has a special way to dance with paths to wisdom on paper. I like being nudged to hop on one leg, then on the other on a sandy path. Answering her question “What may you learn from this?” when I am back to walking on both feet.

Slowly I add her exercises in my work. The Empty Cup Company, a place where healthcare professionals discover simple methods to structure their working together. How to meet as a group? Brainstorm? Improve the best suggestion on the table? Decide unanimously? How to address issues with each other in a way… that works. And I learn that her wisdoms work to build working communities today.

So yes, somewhere downtown Rotterdam last spring, I clicked that 7GL button. 
And look where it got me.

Carolina Carvalho
BSc in Environmental Biology
and MSc in Natural Resource Management and Conservation

Carolina Carvalho is a portuguese ecologist with a particular interest on the interconnectedness of living beings and how to apply this knowledge to human society.

Accelerating our transition to a regenerative future as Activation Team member at the Global Regeneration CoLab (GRC), Data Scientist at African Data Technologies and Permaculture Designer at Kumano Shindo GIA. 

Our deep gratitude for the life of Paula Underwood and her dedication to sharing a 10,000 year old Oneida oral history.  


She touched so many of us with her down-to-earth nature, her patience, inspirational style and her ability to intuit what we needed to hear.  Her sharings continue to reverberate to this day.    
We'll be adding more of her work into the Holistic Wisdom Exchange.

Our deep appreciation to Frank Howell for his support of Paula Underwood's work

Frank Howell is best known for his intricately detailed renderings of American Indians. He viewed these works as universal symbols - as a kind of visual mythology. A mid-westerner by birth, he spent many years in the Santa Fe and Denver areas where he became nationally known not only for his acrylics and oils but also for his lithographs, monotypes, watercolors, drawings and sculpture. He taught on both high school and college levels. Before his death he wrote several books and illustrated many others. His art is featured in Paula Underwood"s Native American learning stories.


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