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Man In The Maze From the Tohono Odham Tribe of Southern Arizona

Legacy Project Concepts and Goals

The Goals of the Legacy Project
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The goals are to give a clearer understanding of the meaning of family, life, love and interrelationships, as well as provide a record of family history. Through personal and family interviews, via the videotaped family history, one can have a permanent life record of memories that can have great significance for future generations.

Concepts of the Legacy Project
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Using the concepts of symbolic immortality, it is proposed that the Legacy Project interviews can later be shared by many generations as a reflection of their heritage. A collection of family pictures, scrapbook of family events, stories, articles, documents and photographs, as well as audiotapes, CDs or DVDs can help portray a family history which might otherwise be lost after a person's death. The spirit and philosophy of one's family will live on. It also helps foster self-observation, which is a powerful coping tool for reviewing the value of one's life when dealing with age, illness or a life crisis, at a time when, hopefully, life changes can still be made. This permanent record of one's family life history can be a marker for future generations to identify their roots and provide useful information about their ancestors.

Include any medical history which could be very valuable for familial hereditary and potential future guidance for prevention of medical illnesses (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and cancer), and/or a genetic reconstruction of a family's heredity.

In conducting a Legacy Project recording, one is encouraged to conduct interviews with various family members. Often, a good time to do this is at special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, family reunions, or at events specifically scheduled for this purpose. These family meetings can often serve as a convenient opportunity for participants not only to convey and share their stories and information but also to add memories, as one story can bring other stories to mind.

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In our experience with the Life Tape Project, based on one-and-a-half to two-hour interviews with cancer patients, there was an imparting of personal philosophies in 70% of the participants, discussion of existential dread in 70%, a gained perspective and meaning of the family in 65%, and improved communication in 57%. The project provided a powerful, safe and accessible intervention that improved family communication, promoting not only personal growth but also reduced existential anxiety through the identification of symbolic immortality

The Legacy Project provided a powerful, safe and accessible intervention that improved family communications, relationships but also connectedness by collecting a family life history, documents, pictures audio/video/CD recordings and an ethical will.

This promoted not only personal growth and reduced existential anxiety through the understanding of symbolic immortality and its concepts of a symbolic life-after- death. The legacy project also provided a way to preserve a person's and family's life stories, philosophies and the legacy of their life history, philosophy and wishes for the future of their family and their descendants.

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