Saturday, July 20, 2024

IIA First Person Resources

IIA has been very fortunate to have incredible advisors and friends recognized for their knowledge of original practices, ecology, history, and language. We believe first-person or primary sources are more helpful representations of our cultures than the interpretations written by what our President, Gregory Gomez, refers to as “ologists”. 

IIA does not want anyone to think we devalue the knowledge of these “ologists”. “Some of our best friends” are trusted allies in the “ology” fields such as sociology, archeology, geology, and more. Some, we believe, are just as knowledgeable because they have taken the time to immerse themselves in our cultures or have been adopted into our families “NDN” way.

Our organization began archiving videos and writings of our elders long before it became popular. Our President Gregory Gomez is a Marine Vietnam Veteran with the health sequelae associated with exposure to psychological and physical damage familiar to all our Veterans. With his fragile health, he felt it necessary to begin documenting his knowledge for our children and grandchildren. When we started our videos and posted our writings online, there was still much concern about sharing our knowledge outside our clans and nations. Most of us grew up when it was illegal to practice our spiritual ways. Sharing with those outside our culture was risky. Today, our ways may not be unlawful. However, we still recognize a long history of misuse of our knowledge with examples of overharvesting plants, practicing ceremonies with no elder guidance, and finding ways to monetize our understandings.  

In 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic reinforced what “Uncle” Gregory said we must start to do: share our knowledge and stories with the world before we lose them. 

So many knowledge-keepers were lost, and ceremonial practices have suffered because the elders who passed away needed more time to solidify their knowledge in the younger generations. We all believed we would “get to it” someday and that someday has passed. We hope you will cherish the knowledge we have been able to collect.  

We ask through prayer to the Creator and our Communities to understand that our intent is to support the next generations. We are realistic that our grandchildren will rely on this “other” great mystery we call the WORLD-WIDE WEB for their knowledge about Native worldview. We want our children to have these stories, and we ask that anyone using them be considerate of their original intent for education and preservation. Aho