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Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows

The True Story of an Indigenous-Based Social Transformer


R. Michael Fisher

In times of extreme cascading global crises facing humanity, all responsible humans need to re-evaluate the dominant worldview that has brought us to this point of facing extinction. As a species we need to relearn the "good" ways from our greatest allies in Nature and from Indigenous cultures that lived in relative harmony with Nature. Equally, we need to learn the best ways to think critically and act on the holistic understanding that may guide us beyond our individual and collective trance and illusions cast forth like chains upon modern societies through elites who manipulate fear.

Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows offers a unique strong "medicine" for the reconstruction of a healthy, sane, and sustainable future for all. Utilizing the form of an intellectual biography of Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs) and his daring activist life and true teaching stories, the author creates a powerful adventure into the firey philosophy, activism, and emancipatory inspirations of one of the world’s great visionary prophetic educators and social transformers. Through a number of unique experiences, including firefighting, white-water kayaking, wild horse training, world-class athletic competitions, and counter-cultural activism, Four Arrows has become a connoisseur of fear and courage. This book shows how he walks a universal ethical path of Fearlessness at a time when too many remain trapped by their fears.

Among other readers, high school teachers and post-secondary teachers across diverse disciplines will find great ideas, eliciting dialogues and study questions for students, who now face a globalizing world where they can take charge of the future via fearless engagement.

‘‘This wide-ranging exploration of fearlessness examines the life and work of Four Arrows through the lens of Fisher’s synthesized philosophy of fearism/fearlessness. It helps address the most urgent questions facing our generation today: How can we break the dominant trance of fear-based living that is killing us and destroying the ecosystem? How are we to find and practice the ‘peaceful way’ while sitting in the fire of social, cultural, and political conflict? By embracing the earth-honoring spiritual psychology of Indigenous cultures as revealed in Four Arrows’ CAT-FAWN mnemonic for dehypnotizing society, cultivating fearlessness, and promoting healing and transformation. This is heady stuff for a non-scholar like myself, yet the author’s sincerity, intensity, and concern for all people and the planet shine through the accounts of Four Arrows’ one-of-a-kind life and Fisher’s careful inquiry of that life and teachings. «Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows» reminds us that at the core of our greatest modern conflicts are not conceptual differences in ethics and philosophy but a much more difficult admission: how frightened we all are. The key to liberation from this fear remains right where it was abandoned centuries ago: in the sacred, interconnected, nature-based worldviews of our own ancestors, no matter where our DNA comes from.’’ —Jeff Nixa, J.D., M.Div., founder of Great Plains Shamanic Programs and author of «The Lost Art of Heart Navigation: A Modern Shaman’s Field Manual»

“As a Cree Sun Dance Leader who well knows my brother Four Arrows, I highly endorse Dr. Fisher’s insightful description of his courageous activism and how it represents a key virtue represented by Indigenous Peoples the world over.” —White Standing Buffalo

“«Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows» tells the story of one of the leading Indigenous educators in North America. I have known Four Arrows for many years and am delighted that his journey and contributions are presented in this timely book. In these difficult times his journey can inspire us to live fearlessly.” —John P. (Jack) Miller, Ph.D., professor and the coordinator of the Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development Program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, and author of «Educating for Wisdom and Compassion»

‘‘R. Michael Fisher, in this significant and life-changing book, «Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows», has captured how Four Arrows (aka Don Trent Jacobs) is a dynamic ‘force of nature’ who utilizes ‘courage and fearlessness’ to consciously break the paralyzing trances of Western culture. In doing so, Fisher describes how this man of action, who ‘walks his talk,’ has found a path of ‘primal awareness’ that has led him to a deep immersion into Indigenous cultures—their stories, consciousness, wisdom, and struggles. The author shows how Four Arrows understands the complementary forces of Western and Indigenous cultures—and, if each of their best virtues are practiced with bravery and heart, they can move us toward a deep integration and rebalancing of ourselves and our civilization, at this time of peril.’’ —Howard Teich, Ph.D., psychologist and author of «Solar Light, Lunar Light: Perspective in Human Consciousness»

‘‘Fisher has selected as his focus the life of a remarkable man, Four Arrows, a beacon of hope in an era of confusion and fear. Fisher carefully and expertly explains some of Four Arrows’ most important contributions to understanding the path toward Fearlessness. He reminded me why Four Arrows’ work has moved me so greatly and why everyone should know him. Fisher’s book is an excellent introduction to the man and his insights, and an inspiration for those committed to helping humanity return to its potential.’’ —Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, and author of «Embodied Morality: Protectionism, Engagement and Imagination»