Wisdom Treasure Award Ceremony 2020

We are incredibly honored to present our 2020 Wisdom Treasure Award to Lydia "Lys" Kruiper; a leader, visionary, and an inspiration not only to her community but to people everywhere. Her commitment is a source of hope and empowerment for future generations.

You're invited to share in this special celebration honoring the life and work of our 2020 Wisdom Treasure Award recipient. Please share with others to help spread the word about Lys' inspiring life story.

Language, Art, and Culture

Preserving original ways of perceiving and engaging the world

We are honored to be presenting our 2020 Wisdom Treasure Award to a very special individual, Lydia Kruiper, who has been a leader, visionary, and inspiration to so many people worldwide, and the hope that she brings to her own community, the Khomani Bushmen, will last forever.

The Khomani bushmen have a very rich traditional culture, which you can learn more about by previewing this short documentary.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeo5qHQnfApeFJ4uvxQOHKw

Lydia is vivacious in all her approaches to cultivate, nurture and preserve her culture, her community. Among her community members she is considered as an elder known for her integrity, always aiming to protect the dignity of others and to stand up for what she believes to be right. She acts on the local CPA (Community Property Association), the JMB, (Joint Management Board) and is the ambassador for the Khomani San Identity project where she always strives to protect and promote her indigenous livelihood.

Lydia has spent a considerable amount of time on the rediscovery and historical archiving of the Khomani San lineage. She embodies this knowledge in the modern day and age by acting as Khomani San representative for the Iziko museum of South Africa as well as internationally where she has represented her community at the Wisdom Weavers of the World Conference among others. 

Lydia furthermore aids cultural knowledge transfer to community youth by the management of various youth group activities such as the Veldskool, a school based on the use of indigenous medicinal plants, healing methods and hunting activities as well as the Khomani San youth group, focused on teaching traditional dancing and the promotion thereof. 

-- Source Point, South Africa

Join us as we celebrate Lydia Kruiper and present her with our 2020 Wisdom Treasure Award! View the ceremony below.

Approximately every 2 weeks an indigenous language is lost. When a language is lost, a worldview is lost, and diversity diminishes. It is predicted that, at this rate, by the end of this century half of the indigenous languages of the world will be gone. We support projects that revitalize languages and arts so cultures can flourish.

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Wanbdi Wakita, the calling of a Holy Man

Wanbdi Wakita, the calling of a Holy Man

Wanbdi Wakita, whose name translates into English as Looking Eagle, was born at home with the help of a midwife on a breezy day in October in the community of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. It was 1940. Overseas the world was at war, but a different kind of struggle was taking place at home.

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Reviving Native Languages, Reviving a Vital Lifeline for Cultural Survival

Reviving Native Languages, Reviving a Vital Lifeline for Cultural Survival

Language extinction can lead to cultural annihilation. When a language is lost, a culture is lost as songs, ancient ceremonial chants and vibrant storytelling traditions vanish. In North America, the legacy of settler colonialism, a violent and racist boarding school system, where Native children were forbidden to speak their mother tongues, endangered many Indigenous languages, driving some to extinction.

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“Lys is an extraordinary woman with a vision that I believe will lead to the empowerment, healing and renewal of not only her people, but also of humanity. A bold statement, I realize. Giving this award to Lys would lift her through acknowledging the power, grace and persistence of a woman who has by and large been working alone on this journey. The financial assistance would also mean a great deal to her. However, maybe even more importantly, it would serve as an acknowledgement of all that Lys is doing and has done, and would empower her to carry on with this incredibly important work."

-- Beth Duncan, Executive Director, WISN

 

 

Lydia “Lys” Kruiper is a well-respected leader, Healer, and Elder of the Khomani San community. She is the daughter of the late San Traditional leader, Dawid Kruiper. Her soft-spoken demeanor and small stature run contradictory to the power she manifests. Like the blanket of stars that fill the sky at night over the dunes of the Kalahari Desert, Lys shines brightly everywhere she goes.

She is a caretaker for many children in the community who are living in high-risk situations such as domestic abuse. Like most Bushmen families, Lys and her husband Isak live very simply.  They share a 2-room home on land with no running water or electricity yet invite any child in need to find shelter there.

The San Bushmen, like many Indigenous communities around the world, were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands. They live with no water, and prohibited from living in their traditional ways as their ancestors had for tens of thousands of years before them. The government allowed a liquor store to open in the middle of the community. This has been disastrous for the San. Sadly, liquor often sells for less than water. Additionally, both of Lys’ brothers were murdered, and countless friends and family members have been lost due to disease, domestic violence, alcoholism and general despair. This is further discouraging because the San are arguably our oldest living ancestors. We carry their DNA in ours. Their land is diminishing and for the Bushmen, the land holds the bones of their ancestors, their songs, their ceremonies, the language (which is not written), and their very history.

Even with all of these challenges, Lys never lost hope. Rather, the work that Lys is doing with her community promotes and creates resilience, renewal and remembering. She is especially focused on training the community youth, even traveling to neighboring Namibia to work with a still largely intact Bushmen community to learn the ancient ancestral ceremonies. These youth are staying sober and are engaged. The youth come to her and say, “We want to remember who we are. We want to learn the ancestral trance dances to help us remember.” In the Kalahari, Lys is very much a woman working alone, holding the hope and the vision for the revival of her people. She has a deep understanding that as her people are empowered and healed, so will the rest of humanity.

Giving this award to Lys gives acknowledgement to the sheer power, grace and persistence of a woman who has worked alone on this journey and the financial assistance provided in conjunction with the Wisdom Treasure Award would also mean a great deal to her. However, maybe even more important, it would serve as appreciation and recognition of everything that Lys has and is shouldering and  empowers her to carry on with this incredibly important work for her family, community and the world.

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