The Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO) is devoted to preserving and restoring balance in the lives of Native Americans through traditional, cultural, educational, family, community, and wellness driven values and initiatives.
As the only viable urban Indian center in Ohio, NAICCO’s presence serves as a critical component in the lives of numerous Native American individuals and families. By holding space for Natives, whose population is a mere 0.3% in Ohio, NAICCO is helping strengthen the People’s healing journey going forward—interlacing identity, pride, family, community, culture and traditions, connection to place, values, visibility, balance and harmony, and overall holistic wellbeing.
NAICCO’s Focus Areas
1) Cultural Preservation/Restoration, 2) Social Development, and 3) Economic Development/Sustainability
Selma Sully-Walker—NAICCO’s Founder (1975 to 1996)
NAICCO was originally founded in 1975 by Selma Sully-Walker (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota)—tribal member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. During her tenure, she served as the Director of NAICCO for over 20 years. Her mission from the beginning was to create a home for her beloved Native Americans in Central Ohio. Through her shining example of dedication, compassion, and service, she helped shape the way to a brighter future for Native Americans in Ohio. Today, Selma’s steadfastness and legacy continues to inform and inspire the next generation of leadership at NAICCO.
Mark and Carol Welsh—Second Set of Hands to Care for NAICCO (1996 to 2011)
Mark and Carol Welsh worked together as husband and wife to maintain the legacy Carol’s mom, Selma, created for the People in Central Ohio. They incorporated the values and teachings of the medicine wheel as the foundational fabric to their tenure at NAICCO. Their time, devotion, and love for the People and the culture helped carry NAICCO into the twenty-first century.
Ty & Masami Smith—Third Set of Hands to Care for NAICCO (2011 to Present)
Masami Smith, NAICCO Executive Director, and Ty Smith, NAICCO Project Director, manage the affairs at NAICCO today. Both are tribally enrolled members of The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Oregon); where they were both born and raised. They are married with three children and two grandchildren and have been by each other’s side for 30+ years. Together, they have chosen to combine their life experiences and education to seek out the best possible ways to give back to their Native People, both in Ohio and around Indian Country.
Since 2011, they have had the honor and responsibility of serving as directors at NAICCO. Over the years, they have not only helped maintain the legacy of NAICCO, but they have also revitalized the agency into that of a sound urban Indian center in Ohio. Together, they have been able to positively impact the lives of countless Native American individuals and families. Today, they continue to hold steadfast to their mission work of preserving and restoring balance in the lives of their Native People through traditional, cultural, educational, family, community, and wellness driven values and initiatives, which can be witnessed through NAICCO programs, NAICCO Cuisine, and Land Back NAICCO.
To learn more about NAICCO read the following article:
Bold Journey: “Meet Ty & Masami Smith”
NASW Ohio Chapter Magazine: “NAICCO: Preserving Culture and Fostering Connections”