Masami Smith, NAICCO Executive Director, and Ty Smith, NAICCO Project Director, are both tribally enrolled members of The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Oregon); where they both were born and raised. They are married with three children, one grandson, one granddaughter, 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 management at the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO). Over the years, they have not only helped save NAICCO from going under, but they also revitalized the agency into that of a reputable urban Indian center in Ohio – one based on integrity. Along with that, 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.
Their testimony to perseverance is evidenced through the successful and effective implementation of three consecutive federally funded projects at NAICCO over the past 10 years – with each strategically complimenting the foundation laid forth by the one prior. Currently, they are diligently working alongside their team implementing NAICCO’s most recently federally funded project, or that which is better known as NAICCO Cuisine (Native American street food trailer). They are on a mission to put NAICCO Cuisine on the map in a big way – both locally and nationally – for at its core it is envisioned to be the means for sustaining and ensuring ongoing and future culturally congruent programs and activities at NAICCO. Needless to say, this is a very important initiative to Ty and Masami on many levels, but primarily, because it is the component needed to supplement the healing journey of their Native People – via the pathways of Native American cultures and traditions.