What is Regeneration?

This blog is about REGENERATION. It’s about the ability of an organism or system to regrow after being damaged or lost.

At Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation,REGENERATION is much more than a biological process.

For me, people can be regenerative because it takes people to build movements that lift up a region. Regenerative people bring about the healing of the human spirit by transforming entire systems.

In the world we live today, every one of us is effected by systems. These systems may include monetary systems, ecological systems, political systems and societal systems. All these systems have a relationship to one another.

Therefore, everything is interconnected.

Throughout the history of colonization, globalization and war; we have become more disconnected from one another, the planet, nature and even our individual selves. The disconnection of these things has led to the creation of systems that continue to oppress people by fostering further separation between the rich and the poor, environmental destruction, human induced global climate change and communities that do not reflect the creative identity of the people living there.

Some may ask,“Who are you?”

Others may ask,“Why write this blog?”

Those are entirely fair questions.

I will start by saying I am a fellow human being. I have been concerned about the direction humanity has been going most of my life because I simply care.

In order to be transparent about the bias I may have I must disclose a few things about myself.

First and foremost, I am a father of four beautiful children, two boys and two girls. Aden, Vilique, Shayla and Jozaya are the motivations behind my work to improve the world and make it a better place.

Being a father has made me realize that I cannot wait for things to happen.

As a father, I have to be an active participant in solving these challenges for my children and grandchildren.

I am also Oglala Lakota and I live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in western South Dakota. Pine Ridge is one of the most impoverished places in the United States with some of the biggest challenges in the country. I choose to look at the challenges that are faced before us as opportunities to create something new.

When you are at ground zero for poverty in America you can choose to to accept the status quo. Or, you use the status quo as motivation to change the future. For 16 years, I have dedicated my entire adult life to serving my people, my community and working to create change. Throughout this entire process I have always tried my best to humble myself and admit what I do not know. Admitting what you do not know automatically turns you into somebody that can be taught. I strongly believe that if the world is filled with people that are always committed to learning then there is hope for our world.

This blog is an extension of this practice. In fact, the majority of this blog will not be about my thoughts. It will be dedicated to people who have spent their lives, careers, time, energy and resources to creating innovative solutions to some of the most challenging problems. This blog will be a place of learning, sharing, growing and healing.

REGENERATION is dedicated to bringing together thought leaders from around the country and the world to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing humanity today. It will include thought leaders that are implementing community based strategies as well as philanthropic innovators, public servants, and private sectors leaders.

REGENERATION falls inline with an ancient Lakota “way of life” concept. In Lakota, we say Mitakuye Oyasin which means that “we are all related”. By looking at all people, plants and animals as relatives it makes us come from a grounding place. If we make decisions from this relational point of view we will design systems, communities, enterprises and buildings that are all encompassing. This strategy is often referred to as the triple bottom line.

In order to truly accomplish this type of work we have to take risks, try new things, create new policies, increase philanthropic investment in ways that build equity and sustainable communities.

There are leaders from all around the country and the world that are the innovators of today building the communities of tomorrow. REGENERATION is about sharing their theories, stories, practices and insights. We hope that you will join us on this learning journey as we work towards collectively regenerating our communities and making this world a better place.













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Who to Contact

Nick Tilsen