Native Lives Matter
The Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO), like many others, has taken full notice of what is going on around us during these trying times. In looking around, we see the unrest and tension that’s looming in the air. We see the strong influence that the Black Nation has had on this country, and the newfound consciousness they have awakened. We also see the strong stances that have been brought forth concerning indifference, injustice, and the need for basic societal change. We see all of this, through Native eyes, for we can identify with the origins of these deep-rooted issues that date back some hundreds of years.
As Native people, there is no doubt that 500 plus years of Western colonialization has dramatically impacted our life ways. For us, this is not just an undeniable truth, but also a reality we must live with on a daily basis. All we need to do is take a look around to be instantly reminded of what has happened to our people and ancestral homelands over this time period. Because of this, is exactly why NAICCO exists today, and still stands as strong as it does.
Many of the issues and concerns we deal with on a regular basis at NAICCO derive from hundreds of years of historical and intergenerational traumas. We don’t agree with how things turned out for our people, and at the same time we know that we cannot go back and undo history. What we can be sure of though, is that we have a choice in matters when it comes to positively impacting our people’s lives in this day and age so they have a real chance at achieving a brighter future. With that said, know that we have been busy doing just that at NAICCO. Not only have we made this choice, but we’ve taken the action necessary to make a number of bold steps forward over the past several years. We see and support our relatives out there on the frontlines fighting for the removal and replacement of insensitive insignias, names, and other monikers, but for us, this is not an area we can afford to prioritize at this time. In order to make a real difference in our Native people’s lives we must continue forward with our mission work, and with our sights set on accomplishing bigger and better results than those we have already come to realize at NAICCO. For us to break stride at this point would be a complete disservice to our people and all that we have accomplished to date.
The testimony to our most recent accomplishments has been built upon that of three consecutive projects (spanning over nine years), with each complimenting the foundation laid forth by the one prior. Currently, we are getting ready to launch the opening of NAICCO Cuisine, or what will better be known as an authentic Native American food trailer in Ohio. Notably, this isn’t simply an initiative to develop a self-sustaining means for ensuring future, culturally congruent programming for our people, but just as importantly, this will be another foundational step closer to the establishment of a bigger and better NAICCO. Meaning, through all of our mission work and visioning as a community, we have been set on a course to purchase and possess a land base of our own here in Central Ohio. Though we are getting closer to achieving this goal, we still have a ways to go. On that note, we would like to ask all our friends, allies, supporters, and other stakeholders to respect our time and efforts, and reflect on the importance of our work here in Ohio.
Here at NAICCO, we carry with us the honor and responsibility of being the caretakers of our Native people’s home in Central Ohio. We do this from our hearts and with the intention of honoring and respecting the foundational teachings our elders and ancestors passed on to us. With that said, and in light of the current climate around us, let us leave you with this teaching:
Among the great Lakota Nation, there exists an ideology that is as old as time. In its most simplified form, it is spoken through the phrase: MITAKUYE OYASIN. This seemingly simple expression translates to the meaning: WE ARE ALL RELATED. In one of their most iconic symbols, the medicine wheel, one can see this simple and powerful teaching in its entirety. The medicine wheel is made up of a circle that is connected equally on four separate sides by what looks similar to that of a set of crosshairs. Each of these four equally divided parts are definable by four distinct colors: BLACK, RED, YELLOW, and WHITE. To the Lakota, these four colors stand for and represent the four races of mankind. And in their way of belief, all four colors are meant to be connected, for it takes all four races to make the circle whole – as can be seen in the medicine wheel. Along with this, it is said that whatever happens to one part of the circle inevitably affects the rest of the circle. In short, this teaching simply, yet very meaningfully, illustrates a distinct wisdom: ALL OF LIFE MATTERS.
For us, here at NAICCO, we have the honor and responsibility of nurturing the Red Nation within the medicine wheel, thus to ensure that NATIVE LIVES MATTER in Ohio.
Thank you for your attention, consideration, and overall understanding.
Ty & Masami Smith
To learn more about NAICCO, our mission work, our people, our history, NAICCO Cuisine, our campaign to acquire a home of our own here in Ohio, and how you can support our efforts and vision, please explore all the links on this website and visit our Facebook page: