A thank you letter from Eustace Conway

Update: Friends, the response to our story last week about what local government is doing to one of America’s last true mountain men has been overwhelming. In less than four days, our story has been read by more than 25,000 people. In less than a week, more than 8000 people have signed the petition to save Turtle Island Preserve.

On Saturday evening, we got a phone call from Eustace himself asking if we’d share the letter below expressing his personal thanks for the support… We’re happy to do so. Please continue to share this information with as many friends and colleagues as you can and urge them to sign the petition to save Turtle Island Preserve here.

And please be sure to “like” us on Facebook so that this important information is shared with your friends and colleagues. You can do so, by clicking the “like” button on the “The Resilient Family” box to the right. 

 We’ll continue to provide periodic updates on the situation as we get additional information… Best, Coley & Trey


My heart doesn’t have a voice big enough to express thanks on the level of magnitude that I and my volunteer coworkers feel for your contribution of support. In a week’s time we have gotten over 5000 signatures on the petition showing support for Turtle Island’s right to exist. We need your help to make it through the attack from our government.

Freedom to live naturally and sustainably is very important to us. We feel it is an inalienable right to choose a low-impact, sustainable lifestyle that creates a much healthier, balanced, graceful, meaningful relationship with the planet.

Now, after our local government invaded our home and shut us down, they are threatening criminal charges against me and other continued legal action. We need your voice to spread the word that our government is harassing, attacking, and persecuting one of the last vestiges of natural living.

We choose to live the way we do to create a model of a healthier lifestyle in hopes that people will be inspired to slow down the tremendous impact to our natural world, which creates rampant demise of the health of our planet. Ironically, the Health Department has demanded that we cease and desist because of our healthy, low-impact, natural methods of life. We have complied and turned our visitors away; cancelling classes and keeping students from learning about our traditional lifestyle that is much healthier and a thousand times less impactful than the lifestyle the Health Department sanctions and supports.

Our tax dollars are paying the local government to police our most intimate actions of existence and survival. They won’t let us eat the natural food from our property. They won’t let us serve the naturally occurring spring water from our land. They won’t let us poop in our outhouse. They won’t even let us urinate in our compost pile and are taking legal action because we want our urine to go back to the earth and compost. They are threatening us about our local, organic, sustainable, low-impact housing. So far they have not told us how or where to breathe. And clothing, they have not yet attacked our clothing style. (Maybe that will change if we get a prison uniform.)

When I look at these primary aspects of human survival and see that we don’t have the freedom to exist naturally in the ancient traditions of our ancestors I am severely alarmed. Who would have thought “in the land of the free” we can’t drink, eat, poop, piss, or live in a natural structure like we want. I believe our founding fathers would do anything to come back and get in on this one.

I have volunteered over 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for the last thirty years of my life to create a model and non-profit education center that focuses on making the world a healthier place. I took him seriously when my grandfather, Chief Johnson, encouraged me to live a life of service and make the world a better place for my presence. One of my neighbors said about the attack, “You guys weren’t hurting anybody.”  Actually, we were working extremely hard at helping everybody.

Now, because of our tax-supported government invasion and their decision that we, a non-profit education organization, are a “threat to public health”, we can’t volunteer our services to the public any longer. The building code enforcers have directed us towards tearing down all of our buildings, even our doghouse.  The health department has cited us with a violation for composting and threatened to persue legal action if we don’t respond in six more days.  That definitely doesn’t feel right, or just, or reasonable, or honorable, or meaningful, or intelligent, or American. Or at least the America I was told about growing up and learning to be a good citizen and contributing member of society.

In the last 26 years, since starting Turtle Island Preserve, where I’ve been volunteering full-time, donating my life to making a positive social, economic, and environmental impact, we have never had any health issues on our land due to any of our traditional practices. We have never had anyone injured due to the sustainable designs of our buildings. We see our governments attack as a human rights issue. The way we want to live is based on a precedent that goes back as far in time as humans have existed. That is sustainability!

Thanks for helping us get the word out about our government’s oppression and the need for citizen support and justice.

In Sincere Gratitude,

Eustace Conway

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19 Responses to "A thank you letter from Eustace Conway"

  1. loving what you have going on Eustace, have been influenced from afar (in Boone and working but always meeting a ton of folks who have been blessed by what you’re doing). Sending so much positive energy from here and ready to back you up if things get really rough. You have accomplished what a million speak of by your dedication and we are thankful to have such a person close to our community.

  2. Sandra says:

    This is great news. Let’s get to over 10,000 signatures on the petition. In fact, lets get to 20,000. This is very exciting. I love the Internet!

  3. John Paulter says:

    “Remember Turtle Island”… This is the rallying cry that we need to scream from the rooftops.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ummm…YOUR tax dollars? I actually do support you, but from what I understand, you don’t pay your taxes. I pay mine. I have a bit of a problem with the statement, “Our tax dollars are paying the local government to police our most intimate actions of existence and survival. They won’t let us eat the natural food from our property,” when YOU don’t pay taxes. Still, I support you.

  5. Tommy Lee - Boone town love says:

    “Anonymous” Please go to hell! if you have the “courage” to speak up put your name on it chump! Brother Turtle is land is a major example of what will happen and is happening to the people by the government for the sake of CONTROL! The control level is hypocritical and wrong. I WILL stand with as many BoonIe’s who dare and care to with this group because Im damn tired and fed up of it!!!

  6. Rita Storie says:

    Saw people life this way in rural KY growing up. Always thought a properly maintained outhouse make much more sense than trying to send the poop somewhere else with copious amounts of water. Eustace, just want you to know that I would still be bringing kids to Turtle Island if I was still teaching science at Hardin Park. Those students and I will never forget the lessons we learned there. Thank you and stand firm.. The support continues to grow…

  7. HLMF says:

    If you are under the impression “anonymous” that TIP does not pay their taxes due to what was portrayed of them on the History channel show you are incorrect. It has already been shown that the supposed “tax evasion” displayed on Mountain Men was a creation of the History Channel’s to incite drama, like any other reality TV show. Mr. Conway has clearly stated numerous time that his taxes and records are intact. Just a little FYI. Don’t blast someone without perhaps knowing the details beforehand. A friend of mine who passed away last spring played a large role in creating many of the structures currently being threatened; this man was an incredible wood-smith, among many other things, and to see his creations, or any part of TIP deconstructed would be devastating to many. Thanks…

  8. esc2820 says:

    I can only hope that what everyone believes to be the “armageddon” or Dec 21, 2012 is more like a collapse of our government and even a collapse of our economy and even electrical service. Then these governmental officials would be begging Eustace for help. The thing is, even though they are trying to take what he rightfully owns, he would still help them. They are obviously not trying to help anything. Also, what is wrong with his buildings? There are buildings that were built just like his and the government calls them “history”. They protect them. What is different with his buildings? Nothing. Except the other buildings that government protects, they have been there for hundreds of years, Eustace’s buildings are newer.

  9. Lucas Gregg says:

    My brother and I attended turtle island preserve as an eight or nine year old in 2001 and then again in 2002. This experience changed my life for the better. The fact that, we lived so primitively AND healthily was incredible. EUSTICE, if you need him or I to write or speak on the Preserve’s behalf as Attendees, we would be very happy to do so!!

  10. We need more people like Eustace because we would be a lot more healthier, and a lot more thankful if we had to grow our own foods, make our own clothes and work our land for servival. America, what is soooooo wrong in what he is doing? Nothing but our Gov wouldn’t have control over it and thats all it is.WE LOVE YOU EUSTACE, DON’T GIVE UP

  11. Drew says:

    My take on this is a little different. This is about everyone’s freedom to live as they please, within the law of course. If Eustace want’s to live the lifestyle he has chosen, good for him! If someone else wants to live in a high rise condo with modern plumbing and appliances, good for them! Yet, we see more and more people voting for more Govt control over their lives. People do not realize the freedoms they have, and seem to be willing to give them up in the name of “fairness and security.”

  12. Mimi says:

    His is not a life-style I would choose (at least not at this age), but I certainly defend his right to pursue it and to teach it to others who are interested. This idea that the government can come in and confiscate private property just to increase the tax base is ludicrous.

  13. Stuart says:

    Is there any update since the meeting in Raleigh on Monday?

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