+SPOTLIGHT | Jordan Cocker
Ndn Name: Dome-Tho-Yah-Koiye-Mah
English Name: Jordan Cocker
What’s your age: 27
What are your tribe(s): Kiowa, Kingdom of Tonga
What are the first 3 words that come to mind when you hear the word healing?
love, water, medicine
Can you tell us what you do and a bit about how you came to it?
I work for the Native Wellness Institute (NWI), a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of North America’s Indigenous peoples. I’m a project coordinator of NWI’s Indigenous 20 Something Project #I2SP. I’m also the new Indigenous Evaluation coordinator for the Future Generations Collaborative. A partnership between Native American–serving entities, tribes, and local government. In the arts, my installation practice is based on heritage or traditional art through a female lens…
I usually wear many hats. I came to my work somewhere between ancestral calling and grit, never give up kind of grit. #gotitfrommymomma
How do you heal?
Food, music, dance, ceremony, water, land, sweat, travel, friendship, kinship, healthy relationships, singing, laughter, visiting, meditation, language, tears everything is medicine. I heal in many ways, anything creative is what I usually reach for in a time of need. When love ones have passed, in the past part of my grieving and celebrating will be print making, poetry, beadwork, ect.
Counting coup is a very important part of my healing, in creating a balance in my life. In my tribe counting coup is a form of justice, peace, and personal and spiritual balance. I count coup in many ways. We know that drugs and alcohol are part of the historic and present day biochemical warfare against indigenous people, so I choose to live drug and alcohol free. We know that Native Women experience violence and are missing and murdered more than any other ethnic group per capita. So I consciously choose healthy relationships and a lifestyle. These are a couple of ways that I count coup. Healing for me is designing the life that I want for myself and the people I love through the daily and longterm choices that I make.
What’s calling you right now?
Today we have generation that is woke, vocal, connected, articulate and focused on change. In my mind the days of normalizing colonial violence at macro and micro levels are over: Racism, sexism, toxic masculinity, the school to prison pipeline, blood quantum, missing and murdered indigenous women, lateral violence… and much more. Moving the Indigenous 20 Something movement forward is one of my goals. This work comes from all of us.
Do your ancestors affect what you do, how you live?
My ancestors remind me who I am and how to be daily. I was raised at the skirt tails of the matriarchs of my family. Women who held abundance in their hands, voices, thoughts, minds and spirits- Women who lived in abundance and shared that wherever they walked. I am the latest of many miles and many generations of abundant, resilient, women. It brings me joy to walk in their footsteps. Joy to white knuckle grip that abundance and share that with my family and friends that become family.
Who are your mentors, role models?
My grandma’s, they know everything.
What drives/inspires you to keep going?
My future children, their future children, and all the relatives who have and will live.
If you could relay a mantra, message, wisdom, ism, food for thought to Indigenous 20 somethings from the US and abroad what would you say?
You are strong and resilient. Take the time to heal and focus on your healing, because you are that powerful and can change the future. Our ancestors had all the answers. “You need me, I need you, we all need each other. Everything is related.” —Grandpa Gus Palmer, Sr. (Kiowa)