In the 1980s, the Indigenous Institute of the Americas was the inspiration of Gregory G. Gomez, MSSW, Eddie Sandoval, and Cathy Gutierrez-Gomez., Ph.D., who was all Dallas - Ft Worth, Texas residents. Gregory G. Gomez is an Apache Vietnam Veteran with a long history working with and for the Native American Indian community. He has served as a Child Welfare Specialist at the Administration of Children and Families for the US Department of Health and Human Services, provided cultural guidance and consultation for various organizations, and currently serves as president of IIAmericas-Indigenous Institute of the Americas.
Eddie Sandoval, -also Apache, grew up in west Texas, where he was known for his athleticism in all sports. He received a scholarship for college in track & field and attended several universities, including North Texas University and Texas Tech in Austin. Many people know Mr. Sandoval in the academic world as a Professor in Tarrant County. Mr. Sandoval is now retired after teaching almost 30 years as a Professor of Psychology and Engineering a Tarrant Co. Jr. College. Most of his academic friends do not realize he is an avid horseman . Mr. Sandoval spends his time with the love of his life, his horses and is active at the Ft. Worth Stockyards. In December 2017, Mr. Sandoval was asked to perform ceremonial repatriation and re-internment. Mr. Sandoval also assists in the repatriation and re-internment of artifacts for our people. As a spiritual leader in our community, Mr. Sandoval worked extensively with the US Department of Justice to ensure Indian men had access to a sweat lodge and sacred amulets for sacred spiritual ceremonie We are very glad to have Mr. Sandoval back at IIA helping as our local Spiritual Advisor. Mr. Gomez and Mr. Sandoval, both Sun Dancers, worked together for many years to maintain a sweat lodge in Burleson, TX. In the 1990s and for many years after, both learned traditional knowledge from a well-known healer from the Rosebud reservation who was influential in helping many Native people in Texas find their spiritual path in the right way. Cathy Gutierrez-Gomez, Ed.D., Huastic is a Emeritus Faculty in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. She serves as a consultant on early childhood education, emphasizing the impact of a culturally sensitive curriculum on young children. Dr. Gomez has prepared many teachers to meet the needs of young Native children. Many of these teachers hope to return to their tribal lands to work with their community. Dr. Gomez has authored many articles such as Quality Teacher Education: Teaching for Diversity in an Era of Standardization in the publication Challenges and Possibilities in Teacher Education A North American Perspective. Her specialized training with Head Start brings a unique understanding to IIA and our work with young children and families.