A member of the Mohawk Nation, Turtle clan, Ian hails from the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. Ian has been involved in Outdoor and Experiential Education for 15 years, working for various organizations including the Canadian Outward Bound Wilderness School, the Santa Fe Mountain Center's native American Emergence Program, the Denver Indian Center, and the Environmental Center at CU Boulder. Currently, Ian is devoted to providing facilitation, education, and training through custom programs that inspire reconnection to self, community, and the rest of the natural world by exploring convergences of the philosophies found in Indigenous and Eastern traditions as a means to realize empowered personal development and socio-ecological change. When he's not fretting about how the term "Decolonization" can arise into the common vernacular, he can be found doing the following, sometimes simultaneously: Trying to figure out the urban homesteading thing with his partner, Rachel Balkcom, honing his skills in the woods, building something, cooking something, or at the Boulder Quest Center, where he teaches and trains in the art of To-Shin-Do Ninjutsu.
February 27th, 2018 | 29 mins 43 secs
buddhism, martial arts, ninja, survival
In the background of all of all martial arts–outdoor education, Buddhist mind science, indigenous thought–there's a fundamental aspect of how to be in the world, one that is predicated on an elevated awareness. That's really where we start in Naropa's contemplative-styled survival skills class. We could spend all semester learning techniques, tips and tricks–things like that–but we don't have enough time. There is not enough time in one semester to learn all of those things, and if there was, and we did that, we'd be jumping the gun on some other really, really important pieces. Particularly, the concept that most dire survival situations–in fact, most elevated situations, most dangerous situations–the great majority of them can almost always be avoided.