Q: What is Ancient Ways?
A: Ancient Ways is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation that was founded in 1994 by Jaiaen Beck. Ancient Ways preserves indigenous people’s ancient life-giving traditions through collaborative and sustainable practices, including health and well-being services, academic, arts, and public health education, and building huts, stoves, toilets, and wells. Ancient Ways currently works in the US, Peru, and Zimbabwe.
Q: So, what is your focus this year?
A: Learning and preserving traditional cultures takes two forms: bringing direct help to indigenous peoples through humanitarian aid projects, and bringing knowledge and appreciation of their cultures to new audiences. Our direct humanitarian work occurs in Zimbabwe at this time, with most attention being given to 6 villages in rural Mhondoro, Zimbabwe. We share what we are learning from indigenous cultures through classes, sales of authentic art, and group music performances.
Q: How do music classes further the goals of Ancient Ways?
A: We study the music from Zimbabwe, with the intention of preserving it in the form that it has been given to us. We gather weekly to learn about the music, as well as the culture from which the music comes. In that way, we introduce people not only to the music of the Shona people but also to a bit of their language, concepts, and cosmology.
Q: How do music performances further the goals of Ancient Ways?
A: Shona music is being neglected by the youth of Zimbabwe, who envy much of the western world. Our love of the music reminds them to remember and honor their roots, which can build their pride and self-esteem, thus affecting the future of the indigenous Shona tribe. Sharing music is an important way that we stimulate healing and unity among people and our planet in general, because music provides a common language among all cultures. Indigenous people are like the endangered species of the human world. Performing their music is also a great way to reach out to our local community and let them know something about the plight of the people of Zimbabwe, and the projects available to help them. Our music program performing and class revenue has become a key fundraising arm to support our programs and services in Zimbabwe.
Q: How do I become a member of Ancient Ways?
A: An annual membership is $25 for an individual or family. A check, payable to Ancient Ways, can be mailed to PO Box 346, Scio, Oregon 97374. A credit card can be used or given to Jaiaen directly.
Q: What does membership do?
A: Membership in Ancient Ways does a few things. It benefits members by entitling them to discounts on t-shirts and lessons. Having membership fees benefits the organization because these fees are put toward the cost of insurance for lessons and performing in public. This insurance is to protect the audience from getting hurt if we throw a mallet for instance, or to protect the place where we have classes – it is not for the performers. Performing is one of our prime methods of raising awareness of our mission, so insurance coverage is essential. Membership fees also help support other administrative expenses of being in business, and being a registered non-profit.