Creating right relations with First Peoples
Consultancy with an Indigenous Perspective
Consultation, collaboration and training services specializing in outdoor education to
improve relations with First Nation communities resulting in more equitable and responsible change.
We have the responsibility to heal the effects of colonialism, both past and ongoing, and the environmental destruction that we are a part of, willing or unwilling. During a time of extensive social and environmental challenges, the inclusion of Indigenous peoples is vital to heal our collective human spirit and to give respect to ancient wisdom that can help us to survive. We need to begin by acknowledging and making amends with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and other often marginalized groups. Together we can create a paradigm for new leadership that is inclusive and culturally more competent and relevant. Sassafras can help you and your organization on that journey with our experience from the past 20 years.
Sassafras is a 51% Indigenous-led organization, that operates on Wampanoag land held in an unbroken lineage. Founder and Director of Land, David Vanderhoop is an Aquinnah Wampanoag elder, who was raised in a traditional Wampanoag family in Aquinnah. David has experienced the effects of historic trauma, racism, and cultural appropriation in his lifetime of 65 years. He brings a unique peacemaking way to address the ongoing effects colonialism truthfully and with empathy for all.
David has presented and led workshops on historic trauma, decolonization, cultural appropriation and racism from an Indigenous perspective. Together with his team, David developed guidelines for equity and the right relations for organizations seeking respectful relations with First Peoples. Depending on your organization' needs, outcomes can include the following; creating acknowledgment of land and first peoples, offering condolences, understanding history and contemporary issues, building relationships and alliances with Indigenous communities, addressing cultural appropriation in your field, developing policies for repair, training staff, board members, volunteers, and/or with participants.
Sassafras has been a forerunner in creating equity and right relations with First Peoples within a network of nature connection mentoring organizations (NCN). We can assist your organization to make progress in the above areas and can design according to your organization's specific needs and circumstances.
After a first free consultation, we proceed by engaging with you and your organization's team members through a series of (zoom) call followed by in-person workshops and conversations, fitted to your needs. In-person training components can take place at your location and are generally followed by an invitation to join us here on the Island of Noepe for a retreat.
David Vanderhoop is an Aquinnah Wampanoag Native, founder, and Director of Land of Sassafras Earth Education. David is the coordinator for the Indigenous Council for The Nature Connection Network, and a board member of the Native Land Conservancy, the first of its kind on the east coast. In his lifetime, David has served on Tribal Council, as a Selectman for the Town of Aquinnah, and specializes in Aquaculture. David is a father of 5 (grown) children and 6 grandchildren, he loves to fish, hunt and cook over an open fire.
Saskia Vanderhoop is a Netherlands/Frysian immigrant since 1998, founder and Executive Director of Sassafras Earth Education and married to David. Saskia is the coordinator and board member of the Nature Connection Network. She grew up nature connected in a small village in a privileged white setting and has undergone transformational growth by living in a Native family and community. Saskia developed herself as a bridge between communities and brings 20+ years of experience.