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NYC - Members' Dinner w/ John R. Lawrence and Susan Ross Grimaldi


In Search of Traditional Shamans in the Eastern and Western Taigas of the Far North of Mongolia
EC Flag Expedition #74, July 2011
EC Flag Expedition #186, June 25th – August 1st, 2012


Video and Presentation—
“Shamans of the Reindeer Herders of the Mongolian Taiga”
Filmed in the remote, northern region of the Mongolian Sayan mountains.

A presentation by explorers and documentary filmmakers—
John R. Lawrence, Jr., PhD, FN ’10, and Susan Ross Grimaldi, M.Ed., FN ‘11

Following two EC Flag Expeditions, by horseback to the edge of the Siberian frontier, John R. Lawrence and Susan R. Grimaldi, present their captivating story of their quest to find shamans among a small band of nomadic, reindeer herders, known as the Dukha. Grimaldi and Lawrence traveled far, heading to one of the most remote and hard to reach areas of Mongolia.

The Dukha, also known as the Tsaatan, are among the last nomadic, animal-dependent, self- subsistence cultures remaining in the world. There are now less than 400 Dukha remaining. They live in small groups and migrate over an area of 6 million acres. Life for the Dukha tribe is simple and hard. Their way of life has been passed down through an untold number of human generations. They currently face many challenges as they struggle to maintain their ancestral lifestyle in an ever-changing world.

Lawrence and Grimaldi rode on horseback many, long and challenging days through fields of wild flowers, and through boggy swamps and swarms of flying insects, while trying to keep their horses from floundering in the miles of deep mud. Crossing snow-lined mountain passes reaching elevations of over 10,000 feet, they rode in near freezing temperatures.

As they crested a mountain pass they spotted the nomads living in a high valley with a stream of clear, water running beside their teepees. A herd of reindeer grazed nearby. Grimaldi and Lawrence met with three shamans, interviewed them and filmed several shamanic rituals.

This film is housed in permanent archives for future researchers, and for Dukha descendants who may need to remember this knowledge if ever their culture becomes lost. Grimaldi and Lawrence want to inform the outside world of the human treasure that still lives in this remote Mongolian Taiga. Perhaps our society can learn from the Dukha people, integrate their knowledge, and wisdom of sustainability, reconsider our systems for survival and adopt ways of living that are more in harmony with nature.


[Click to Enlarge]

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Susan Ross Grimaldi, M.Ed., FN ’11, is a Field Associate for the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, specializing in Audio/Visual Documentation. She began recording shamanistic rituals in 1989 on the island of Grenada. She produced the documentaries, “Drums of the Ancestors, Manchu and Mongol Shamanism”, and “Tuvan Shamanic Rituals”. She produced and edited two new documentaries, “Siqingua, Daur Shaman of Inner Mongolia, China”, and, “Tsaatan Shaman Ceremonies of the Reindeer Herders”. She has published numerous articles on her field research, and produced a CD, “Tuvan Shamanic Healing”. She has served as a consultant helping the Chinese government re-integrate shamanism back into contemporary Chinese society. She lives in Vermont where she has a private practice.

John R. Lawrence, Jr., PhD, FN ’10, is a cultural anthropologist, photographer, and videographer, specializing in research on traditional shamans. John is a Staff Associate for Audio-Visual Documentation for the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. In the Republic of Tuva, John filmed shamans and conducted research. He published articles on Estonia, China, and Chile. For years John lived onboard boats, and he captained several small sailing vessels crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, also sailing around Cape Horn in a 35’ sailboat. He has been a commercial, hard-hat diver, a certified PADI dive instructor, and an accomplished mountain climber. He is a counselor and a licensed massage practitioner, living and practicing in Seattle, WA.

Together, in 1995, Lawrence, and Grimaldi began their research in China, during a time when shamanic practices were still prohibited. In 2002, they embarked on an expedition to the Brazilian Amazon jungle, working to record and preserve the practices of these tribal traditional healers. Together they produced the documentaries, “Siqingua, Daur Shaman of Inner Mongolia, China”, and “Shamans of the Reindeer Herders of the Mongolian Taiga”, and two CD’s of shamanic chants. Grimaldi and Lawrence co-led two EC Flag Expeditions to China and Mongolia.

Date: 11/07/2013

Time: 6:00 Reception, 7:00 Dinner, 8:00 Lecture

Location: NYC Headquarters, 46 E70th Street, NY, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $65

Guest Ticket Price: $70

Reservation Notes:

Dinners are open to Members and their guests.
Non-members are welcome to attend as nominal guests of Daryl Hawk MN’98, organizing chair of The Explorers Club Members Dinners.
To make a reservation please email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call the Club at 212-628-8383

Cancellation/”No Show” Policy:

* If a reservation is canceled after Monday, November 4th there will be No Refund of the ticket price.
* There are no refunds for a “No Show” to a catered event.

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