Center for Innovative Learning
THE PAST IS PROLOGUE Past Is Prologue:  Introduction
- An educational program for students of all ages
- Designated as an Exemplary Educational Program by the U.S. Department of Education
- Listed in the catalogue of "Educational Programs That Work"

Learning How to Learn-- Clear Thinking--this is what schools are all about.

THE PAST IS PROLOGUE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM (PIP) is about one way of learning: a way based on an ancient Native American approach to right/left brain coordination, careful listening, and respect for all ways--an integrated approach. Teachers around the country have clearly demonstrated that PIP is a method of learning that works.

The US Department of Education has validated PIP for grades K-8.Three basic elements of this ancient, yet new, approach work together to create a program designed to help children teach themselves how to learn, respect one another, and make decisions.

I. The Learning stories, which provide the catalyst for learning, come out of an ancient Native American Tradition passed down to Paula Underwood through five generations of her family.

II. The Process includes the development of skills in listening, in clear decision making, and in group decision making through consensus.

III. Curriculum Content is such that it correlates across most subject areas, provides stimulus for a broad range of Students from "slow" to "gifted" and is especially adaptive in the multi-cultural classroom.

"The learning stories work. They are great teachers in themselves. It is an honor and a gift to be able to share them." - Colorado teacher and storyteller

Paula Underwood, PIP Director, tells us: "Learning stories are designed to engender questions, not to answer them, to raise issues, not to resolve them. They are an invitation to contemplation. They liberate rather than define, enable us to learn from our own wisdom."

The Learning Stories are: Who Speaks for Wolf, Winter White and Summer Gold, and Many Circles, Many Paths.

These stories--passed down to Paula from a culture which placed high value on learning--enable student and teacher to learn together. Each story is based on an historic circumstance which has been modified and enhanced the creation of space in which new learning may occur. This is a program that has stood the test of the centuries.

Published on its own in 1984, Who Speaks for Wolf won the Virginia Library Association's Jefferson Cup Award. Wolf has now been re-issued, with the original color illustrations by noted artist Frank Howell, in a new educational edition for inclusion in the PIP program. The other stories will be published within the next few months, but until these books are released, the stories are available in desktop published format.

All three stories are available on the audio cassette, narrated by Paula Underwood, and accompanied by original music composed by Mazatl Galindo especially for this project.

"I feel the impact of PIP will benefit our children and society over many years of process. The end product will hopefully be responsible world citizens." -Fifth grade teacher in California

"The thing I like best is the way the children listen to each other--and yes, they listen more carefully to me as well."
-Fifth grade teacher in New Mexico

The Learning Stories stand alone. The process of communication and discussion, however greatly enhanced by the background materials and learning activities sections found in Three Strands in the Braid: A Guide for Enablers of Learning."

Three Strands contains an extensive section on approaches to teaching and learning to enable teachers, parents, and others to apply the Learning Stories as a tool for learning in many areas. In addition it includes a strong section on Iroquois government, culture and history which can lead to a greater understanding of the many contributions to this nation made by
Native Americans. For further study, there is an extended resource list and a short list for recommended reading.

The best approach, the ideal approach to this process, is through the in-depth understanding that comes from attendance at a PIP teaching training workshop or seminar. These offer opportunities to learn about the ancient educational methods incorporating concepts of integrated thinking, right/left brain communication, and imaging for understanding.

"Who Speaks for Wolf fits the modern classroom curriculum perfectly as it integrates many important subject areas all into one piece of writing. It is the most complete piece of literature I have seen on the market."
-Third/fourth grade teacher in Colorado

Many teachers now use PIP materials in units of study which cut across curriculum areas. They find the Learning Stories correlate not only with literature and Native American studies but also with concepts in history, government, environmental studies, and values clarification. Activities can extend to art, music, physical and outdoor education.

Teachers with multi-cultural students find these materials allow them to adopt or adapt alternative educational concepts to include oral learners as well as visual learners, "slow" learners as well as "fast", right-brain as well as left. Both teachers and students may find they understand their own culture better by viewing it from a different angle. With PIP materials and training, both teachers and students learn together as they share the experience.

A Colorado teacher summarizes it this way: "to use these Learning Stories in the classroom with children affords the opportunities to teach the 'whole child'." Thus, PIP materials encourage "Learning as a Whole Process."



Paula was the inheritor of much Ancient Wisdom.  Beginning with infancy, Paula listened to the stories told to her by her father, Leonard Underwood, who had learned them from his father, Oliver Underwood, who had learned them from his grandmother, Tsilikomah, who was the last "Keeper of the Old Things" for her Oneida community in western Pennsylvania.  Paula, herself, was not a member of any Iroquois Nation;  she was, however, brought up by her father in the "strong spirit path" and to revere and respect Iroquoian traditions.  She and her father considered themselves A Tribe of Two.

Using ancient traditional techniques, Paula's father helped her store these tales and traditions in her memory with the ambitious plan that, when she had achieved a good western education and reached an age of sufficient wisdom, she should write these wondrous tales down for all "listening ears" so they might be shared with the children's children's children.  Paula accepted this responsibility, and it became a sacred journey that continued to her death in December of 2000.

By the time Paula reached 50, she had achieved a master's degree in
international relations, married, raised two children, worked at interesting jobs on the Hill in Washington D.C., accomplished many goals as a volunteer in educational, environmental, and civic organizations. She had also begun the monumental task she had agreed to when she was only 12 years old.  The first thing she wrote under this mandate was one of three Native American Learning Stories, entitled "Who Speaks for Wolf," followed by the first section of her principal task, the vast Oral History entitled "The Walking People," which took her ancestors from Asia, across the Bering Strait and on across this continent, gathering wisdom as they walked.

Paula's first book "Who Speaks for Wolf," published in 1983,won the Thomas Jefferson Cup Award and began a country-wide educational outreach program called The Past Is Prologue, termed exemplary by he U.S. Department of Education.  This program was expanded when the other two Learning Stories, "Winter White and Summer Gold"  and "Many Circles, Many Paths" were published.  These three stories are now brought under one cover entitled Three Native Learning Stories.  Her epic work, "The Walking People", was published in 1995.

In addition to these books, Paula also wrote and published "Three Strands in the Braid:  A Guide for Enablers of Learning";  "The Great Hoop of Life, Vol.  I: A Traditional Medicine Wheel for Enabling Learning and  for Gathering Wisdom";  and "Franklin Listens When I Speak: The Telling of the Friendship between Benjamin Franklin and Skenandoah, an Oneida Chief".  There are also several small pamphlets: "My Father and the Lima Beans,"  "Clan Mothers in the Twenty-First Century", and "Peace on Earth and The Warrior Way".  Her work has appeared in anthologies and journals.  She has conducted numerous retreats, served as consultant to corporations, been an advocate for the environment, and spoken before many audiences.

Paula's two children, Laurie and Randy, inherited the copyrights to her writings and are carrying on her work in a Tribe of Two Press.  A number of manuscripts are waiting publication.  Also involved in continuing to share Paula's educational work is "The Past Is Prologue: A Way of Learning". a 501(c)(3) organization.  This group is composed of a number of people who have worked in depth with Paula's written traditions. These include educators at all levels, those who work in the area of wellness and health care as well as in the corporate arena.

Paula leaves a marvelous legacy of Wisdom for generations to come.

For more information: A Tribe of Two Press: P.O. 133, Bayfield, CO 81122 1-800-995-3320 –