Past Event

Ceremony, Spirituality, and Native American Ecology

North Georgia has a rich history of Native American culture, which has had a lasting impact on the historical and ecological development of the area. FIND Outdoors is so excited to celebrate the area’s rich history with Dr. Joe Candillo, who will be leading a presentation titled “The Importance of Land and the Living Natural Environment to Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.”

Dr. Candillo is a tribally enrolled citizen of the Pascua Yaqui Indian Tribe of Arizona (Federally recognized tribe). He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies with a concentration on Indigenous Studies, an MA in American Indian Studies, and an undergraduate degree in Anthropology. Dr. Candillo’ s research background focuses on Native American spirituality, aboriginal North American environmental adaptation, and material culture traditions.

This project is supported by Georgia Humanities, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, through funding from the Georgia General Assembly.


Programs Locations:
Brasstown  – Mountain Top Theater
Anna Ruby Falls – Picnic Area
Lake Winfield Scott – Covered Pavilion


The event is FREE, however you need to register to attend as it is limited to 30 participants.


There are no active instances of this event.

Program Details

Ceremony and Spirituality

Today there are certainly many misconceptions about how Native Americans understood our metaphysical world in addition to how and why we conducted ceremonies associated with celebrating and practicing Native American spirituality. In this presentation the audience will be given an authentic emic perspective of Native American spirituality focusing on distinct concepts that seem to run within the spiritual practices of a number of Native American peoples. We will also touch on what is referred to as New-Age Spirituality and how many of these concepts originated from traditional Native America beliefs but became packaged and commercialized to cater to a pan Indian audience. It is important when studying Native American ceremonies and spiritual practices to understand how this fits into the living Native American community and the significance of these ceremonies in perpetuating an autonomous cultural persistence distinctly and diversely Native American.    

Native American Ecology

Undeniably, Indigenous peoples were the first “ecologist” of the Americas. Traditionally Native peoples of the Americas interacted with and perceived the living natural environment as an extension of human existence respecting it as a source of power and life itself. In this presentation the audience will learn authentically (from a Native American) how indigenous peoples traditionally understood the living natural environment and further how we developed and processed systems of understanding the natural living world within human spaces. This traditional understanding bridged both our physical and metaphysical worlds. Our traditional perspectives of the world as Indigenous peoples are often quite different than the mainstream perspectives of the world people live in today. This presentation will visit a number of modern Western philosophies associated with the understanding and management of land and compare / contrast these philosophies with how Indigenous peoples traditionally understood the natural living world. To fully understand how environment fits into the human experience we will travel back in time through our imagination and study the role the natural living environment had with the first peoples of the Americas.

Interested in taking part in another FIND program? Take a look at what else is happening!