Meet Randy Thomas Jones
In a time where the very idea of the indigenous is on the verge of being lost, Jones is a community leader and an advocate for the revival of the conversation between the modern world and the wisdom of Indigenous Cultures. Sorrowed by the very loss of the wild in modernity, Jones has dedicated much of his life to re-establishing an alliance between the two.
Over the last 35 years, he has embarked on an indigenous training which included dynamic studies in mythology, ritual, rhythm, dance, counselling and storytelling. He has trained and worked with such renowned teachers as Malidoma Somé, Michael Meade, Daniel Deardorff, Sobonfu Somé, David MacMurray Smith, Linda Galloway, Francis Weller, Stephen Jenkinson, Martín Prechtel, Marion Woodman and Robert Bly. He is skilled in facilitating what has become an increasingly necessary discourse between humans, nature, and the spirit world. He is the author of "Medicine Without an Expiry Date: Indigenous Remedy for Modern Trouble."
Fire: Maasi Land, East Africa
Tanzania, East Africa, home of lions, wildebeest, gazelle, elephants, and zebra, surrounded by ancient African magic, very near the heart of human origin, Olduvai Gorge. The first peak of my childhood imagination was not in the Rockies, fringing the Great Plains in Alberta, where I had been born, but Kilimanjaro, tallest mountain in Africa. Returning to Canada, I soon learned that North America also once had herds of buffalo (according to historical accounts) thirty miles wide. I was irrevocably lonely for the seething life of the "dark continent," and more than that, for something that would take time to understand: I was forlorn for the very loss of the wild in modernity. I knew at a young age the truth of those lines from Wallace Stevens: "It is equal to living in a tragic land to live in a tragic time."
Curriculum Vitae for Randy Jones Jan 01, 2019
ARTIST STATEMENT of CURRENT PRACTICE
For the past twenty years I have had an independent practice working with people in gatherings I have organized, designed, and led. The gatherings work in the way of the Earth’s traditional peoples, re-inviting nature and spirit into a “larger than only human” community. In these gatherings, the interdisciplinary concept “it takes a village” informs the creation of learning environments that encourage transformative extension on aspects of self, and the way self relates to social, natural and imaginative environments.
I see education as overlapping with leadership training, and the development of ecological and systemic recognition of whole systems. The gatherings I lead understand personal psychology as part of a full ecological process. In effect I have been a self-employed facilitator of community development and personal growth.
My main framework has been inspired by several teachers. Dr Michael Meade, (Mosaic Foundation)
works with myth and its modern application, extending upon the work of Joseph Campbell, and others. David McMurray Smith (Fantastic Space) works as an independent educator in Personal Performance and Theatre studies since starting his own studio after an academic career as a director and producer. Foremost, Dr. Malidoma Somé has brought the indigenous wisdom of his people, the Dagara of Burkina Fasso to share with the West to, originally on the instruction of tribal Elders.
Somé’s assignment (and genius) has been to bridge the gap between indigenous ways of knowing and the modern. His education was unique, combining a western academic education (he holds three Master’s degrees and Two PhDs) with a traditional one (he is also a traditional diviner, shaman, and initiated Elder). The implied charge passed on to me is to give the seeds of this knowledge an independent planting in the modern world—working with the practices of indigenous knowledge in a modern setting.
Examples of my work include rituals with the elements of fire, water, earth, mineral, and nature, which are the five “clans” of the Dagara mythology. Specific purposes range between healing from grief and ancestral wounds, to liberating creative energy, the expression of authentic voice, recognition and remembering of life purpose, and restoring love for the Earth and nature as community values. Traditional storytelling, which historically has always educated about the intersection of personal life and the life of the community, is a foundation stone of the work. Therefore, in the above context, rituals are events that serve to create a space where communication between the human and “other-than-human” worlds can happen. Each is simultaneously specific to a purpose and general to the ongoing issues of community, healing, and initiation.
I see the current challenge of critiquing a dominant culture based on limitless expansion and consumption of being an issue of zeitgeist, of world view or paradigm, pervading all but marginal spaces. In such work, issues of human experience—feeling, imagination, embodiment, intellect, and spirit must be central to any attempt to re-orient and express human existence in a fashion in tune with ecological realities. By necessity, this work is rightly innovative and improvisational to ensure it is responsive to needs and conditions, adopting models from various disciplines, and adapting them in bricolage where seemingly appropriate.
Curriculum Vitae for Randy Jones Jan 01, 2019
Author of “Medicine Without an Expiry Date:
Indigenous Remedy for Modern Trouble (512 pages) pub. 2014
Introduction by Dr. Malidoma Somé, Phd Sorbonne, Phd Brandeis
FOCUS AREAS OF PAST STUDY AND EXPERIENCE
Odyssey Substance Abuse Services for Youth 1991-1994
Youth and Family Counselor
Counseling Training, Various 1988- Current
Documented Hours ~ 1000
Kitsilano Neighborhood Television 1985-1984 Independent Community Television Cooperative 1997-2000
Award: Best Youth Video (WCCCTA 1992) 28 minute documentary
Director, Writer, Live Talk Show Host, Editor, Camera Operator,
Workshop Instructor, Board Member, Membership Director
PERFORMANCE / CREATIVE PROCESS STUDY
Fantastic Space Enterprises, Uncommon Sense,
Wondertree Education Society, Harbour Dance,
Western Front, Russel Shumsky, Pepe Danza 1992 – Current
Study areas: Physical training for performers, emotional training
for performers, ensemble work process, creative process training
clown, exploratory movement, Jazz Dance, African Dance, Learning
consultant training, Drumming (Jembe)
MODERN RITUAL PROCESS AND STORYTELLING
Malidoma Somé, Michael Meade, Sobonfu Somé, Martin Prechtel
Robert Bly, Marion Woodman, Daniel Deardorff, Wendy Jarvis,
Kushad Watson, Francis Weller 1995 – Current
INDEPENDENT WRITING AND RESEARCH
“Medicine Without an Expiry Date:
Indigenous Remedy for Modern Trouble 512 pages 2014
Technical Writing: 1986-1997
Co-operative Hunting With the Bionic Eye [volunteer manual]
The Self-Advocacy Success Video [video proposal $170k budget]
Day Long Health Workshop [Persons With Aids Society]
HONOURS English 100, Sociology 100,
Open Learning Institute, Vancouver (Transferred to UBC 1984
Film and TV Production, University of British Columbia 1986