Born into a family and relations involved with agriculture, both pastoral and farming,it was apparent where Hank Willie's passion lie. He studied agriculture both in the classroom and learned from the elders and nature. His experience has led him to conclude that formal classroom education only provides the fundamental foundation that one needs to build on through practical application and listening to traditional teachings.
He was fortunate to be around people who provided that experience. He believes that it is Diné principle to give back because a person who has had the privilege and opportunity to acquire the knowledge and tools, they have an obligation to pass that on. When opportunity provides, he has made his acquired knowledge and information available to whomever is willing to listen and learn. To him, agriculture is a way of life, and not a capitalistic venture as some people perceive it to be.
Over the past twenty plus years Hank was involved in one way or another with individuals, nonprofit organizations and institutions whose missions were devoted to maintaining, promoting and/or reviving sustainability. He has served in numerous capacities with nonprofits, as administrator, in grant making, building networks and partnerships, community education, etc. He has also been involved in the support mechanisms, such as technology support and information technology, as well as serving as a board member, volunteer capacity and farmer.
His experiences has made him aware that the Diné, as well as organizations face many challenges in maintaining and reviving a heritage. In agriculture, it is water, land and seed, in that order. Water is foremost in keeping the natural order and balance. The quality and amount of available water needed to grow crops is critical. Without this element, everything else is insignificant.