Native Wellness Institute

Shalene Joseph, from the Gros-Ventre or A'aniih people of Fort Belknap, Montana, and Athabascan people from Tanana, Alaska, graduated with her bachelor's degree in Native American and Indigenous Studies from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and a master's degree in American Indian Studies from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where her master's thesis was on Historical Wisdom. Growing up, Shalene has been mentored and molded into a youth leader through the Native Wellness Institute (NWI) and currently works for NWI as a Project Coordinator. She helped to launch the Indigenous 20-Something Project (I20SP), where her generation is organizing and collaborating to heal their generation from the lasting impacts of historical and intergenerational trauma. They have been to nearly 25 tribal and urban Native communities already. I20SP recently finished a short film on mental wellness in Indian Country that Shalene co-directed. She has traveled to many tribal and urban communities for work and personal where she has experienced local culture and learned from each person. Shalene strives to see Indigenous people rise and become the resilient people they were created to be.

Josh Cocker is from the Kiowa, or Ka'igwu people in Oklahoma, and the kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific. He is a certified outdoor instructor and facilitator, with an associate’s degree from Whitireia Polytechnic in Wellington, New Zealand. He has travelled extensively in the South Pacific for work and service including Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Australia. He has worked in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona as a trail walker, coordinator, and trainer for an outdoor behavioral healthcare foundation. From the age of 14, Josh was given a position in a military society of his tribe, and trained as a youth leader to preserve and share traditional knowledge with his generation. He seeks to honor and share that knowledge with everyone. He is a wellness and healing facilitator with the NWI and is assisting to launch I20SP. “My hope is that I can help reintroduce people from all walks of life to our First Mother in all her wisdom and beauty. I hope to inspire healing, harmony, and connection through the use and passing of traditional skills in the outdoors.”