Our Current Board of Directors

Lonnie Hamilton
Lonnie HamiltonExecutive Director
Lonnie is a very well-rounded presence. Whether he’s in the board room, the ball room, the edit room, or just in front of the grille, Lonnie brings elegance to any event, program or production.

As a digital and set producer, Lonnie has a great set of leadership talents and practical skills to offer to any situation. A Traditional Mvskoke Bow Maker and Instructor, Lonnie holds a firm grace to the primal transitions his students traverse on his artisan workshops.

CurtisVice Chair
Curtis is a former river rat and retired engineer who lives in the West in an old bungalow at the edge of a small hay field surrounded by woods.

Curtis also studied International Nonprofit Management at the JHU.

Bret McCabe
Bret McCabe Chairman, Co-Founder
Bret is a well traveled man of unique experience. Having spent time studying survival techniques and martial arts in more than a few parts of the world, Bret is a qualified wilderness and survival instructor.

As a full student of the martial arts, Bret works as a Massage therapist and utilizes the healing benefits of Yang Sheng Kung Fu in his daily practice.

Justus Ewing
Justus EwingBoard Secretary, CTO, Co-Founder
Justus is a full stack digital designer and developer. As the CEO of t.i. WebSoft, a full service digital boutique, Justus is able to manage our ever-growing web presence by supplying us with new sites and organizational functionality as our programs and services expand. Leveraging a very talented team, Justus brings modern messaging and fundraising tactics to situations that can benefit from digital support.

Our Story

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.
Margret Mead

 “This all started with a walk in the woods.” – Bret McCabe, Co-Founder.

Turtle Island University, as a concept, began with two buddies hiking off into the bush for a few weeks to blow off some steam. Both friends had studied traditional disciplines in different parts of the world. After a few conversations, agreements were made between the two regarding how to respect the traditions behind the skills and knowledge they would share with each other. The two agreed to only show each other what was acceptable within the confines of each tradition addressed.

Upon their return, they were met with much interest about what they had done. Many people requested that classes be developed. “As soon as I saw that glazed expression followed by, ‘Wow! I wanna do that! When are you doing it again?’, I knew we were in over our heads.” – Justus Ewing, Co-Founder.

Curriculums were written, tested & reformed. Businesses and nonprofits were set up. Websites were built. Insurance policies were set up. Several bank accounts, computers, piles of paperwork, and government offices later, we finally had a company group and a class we felt was ready to deliver to the public.

So we went back to all of those people who wanted to run off into the woods with us to tell them we were ready to show them what we were doing. But everyone was busy. Or didn’t want to do it at the moment.

Which was fine with us, because we were exhausted and needed a break. And it was during that rest period that we realized that our true talent wasn’t teaching classes. It was building organizations. And once we realized the value of that to the public, we changed our approach.

OrganiFund.com is an example of such a change. Originally, the platform was meant to give workshop participants a way to fundraise their entry fees, with the added benefit of marketing our Ancestral Skills Training program. But once we realized the changes crowdfunding could make in a person’s life, we opened the platform up to the public for fee-free tax deductible fundraising.

We’ve tried a few things by now and have refined our process to this point: We have an intimate understanding of internet based fundraising and organizational development. We’ve hosted events, managed registrations and paperwork, gotten monies raised and delivered funds to folks in hard places a few times now.

We’ve been invited to some really special places, gathered hundreds of hours of amazing and rare footage, and used that footage and media to let people around the world know about what we are supporting. And people from around the world have responded. Not all of them, but some. Enough to let us know we’re on the right track. And more importantly, enough to have a positive impact.

So our current goals are simple. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing. As much of it as we can. And with your continued support, we can do that much more.

Moving forward is simple. Don’t stop. A simple message, but one we take to heart. As we grow in community and impact, we look forward to launching more local and national programs. Recycling and recapturing industry food waste is an current interest of research for our leadership team.

A new public platform solution is also in the works. We are currently designing a system that allows users to pledge time to hosted events. This would allow people to organize all sorts of community work days, events, cleanups, and anything else people get together for.

Opening state chapters strategically to increase our localized impact is another conversation we are actively engaged in. And of coarse, we will continue to grow with our current programs as they lead us in their directions.

It’s taken several years and a great deal of hard work on the part of more than a few people, but we are proud to present Turtle Island University in its current form.

We continue to look forward to the manifestations of its evolution. We welcome you.

Turtle Island University Foundation’s Mission

Our Vision:

We aim to hold space for people to come to an intimate understanding of the interconnectivity of life in such a way as to live well, both supported by and in support of all that is alive.

Our Action:

Turtle Island University Foundation Inc. provides institutional and organizational support to Cultural Leaders, Youth and Veterans in practical ways that make a positive difference.

Our Mission:

Turtle Island University Foundation Inc., we aim to co-facilitate a re-introduction the daily life and social skills our ancestors practiced and lived in order to survive and create future generations. Our programs at TIUF also aim to teach personal growth and human development so that everyone can learn to work and grow together.

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.
Mahatma Ghandi