Lineage | History | Presence | Future
White Pine Wilderness Academy is the expression of multiple Lineages.
First and foremost is the Shikari Lineage of tracking guides from the jungles of Northern India where our founder Matt Shull’s father was born. Here Ernie Shull, Matt’s Grandfather spent 20 years as the Shikari Manager for the Dangs District in the gorgeous foothills of the Himalayas. The famous author and Shikari Jim Corbett from the neighboring Kumaon region was the first western writer to document the ancient knowledge of interspecies communication, this coupled with the eye of a master tracker, allowed Jim to stalk and harvest some of the most notorious man-eating cats in the region, some like the Temple Tiger were responsible for killing over 300 people over a 10 year period. Like Jim, Ernie utilized his incredible naturalist knowledge paired with bird language and tracking to harvest several cats like the Man-Eating Leopard of Subir. It is the skills, stories and philosophy of “jungle etiquette” that define the Shikari Lineage that we are so honored to carry.
We owe the philosophy of Coyote Mentoring to the work of Tom Brown Jr. founder of The Tracker School in New Jersey. This system of storytelling, inspiration, shared passion and questioning guide students towards Vision. The philosophy of Coyote Mentoring evolved through Stalking Wolf’s mentoring of Tom and Tom’s mentoring of Jon Young. The beauty of this method lies in its simplicity and it’s adherence to core principles. Through Coyote Mentoring the primary function of education is to discover inspiration, passion and Vision.
We owe the development of the 8 Shields model to Jon Young. Through the sharing of this conceptual model, Jon is revolutionizing the nature connection movement. It is through the 8 Shields model that we owe the connection and influence of so many Elders like Grandfather Ingwe, Chief Jake Swamp and the Peacemaker Principles, and Barry Moses.
We are greatly indebted to the Primitive Skills movement that has raised the bar of expertise and professionalism in the ‘Survival Skills’ world. Tracing all the way back to Grandfather Ishi and the work of Carl Pope and Art Young we see the emergence of an overwhelming sense of value and need to document that which was being lost. The movement owes itself to dedicated skills practitioners and experimental archeologists like Errett Callahan, Jim Hamm, Tim Baker, Paul Wescott, Jim Riggs and countless other ‘mountain men’ and visionaries who had the wisdom to save and revitalize the skills that were being lost.
White Pine Wilderness Academy was founded by Matt Shull in 2014 to address an urgent need for re-connection to nature. Prior to 2014, Matt facilitated workshops through the umbrella of Eehsipana Urban and Wilderness Survival School. Eehsipana (pronounced “ee-sa-pah-nah”) was co-founded by Matt Shull and Ethan Runnels in 2008. Ethan was an advanced primitive technologist and ‘coyote mentor’. Ethan passed away in 2009 when he drowned in the White River. His life’s dedication to helping people find Vision through the mediums of nature and skills lives on at White Pine.
The White Pine Vision has continued to grow in strength and scope. Our popular youth programs influence thousands of children each year, reconnecting kids to their environment, themselves and their place in community and we still ‘Stay Wild’.
Adult programs have matured into comprehensive Pathways with core community groups that support students down the difficult paths of foraging, hunting, inner tracking, survival and mentoring.
We are now a well known resource for nature connection and mentoring in Indianapolis and beyond.
Our vision is to always maintain our ‘urban’ hub in Rocky Ripple but also to expand to a wilderness camp in Brown County. To meet the overwhelming demand our summer camps will likely expand to a variety of locations.
Our partnerships in education and conservation are launching us into relatively uncharted territory. The wisdom of indigenous connection principles applied to education, community and conservation is proving to be regenerative in many exciting ways. We plan to continue blazing the trail. If you would like to contribute in any way to the White Pine Vision contact us. Thanks.