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Speakers Bring Experience for Native Wellness Workshops at UW

April 23, 2018
Jordan Crocker and Josh Crocker

Three presenters for a Native Wellness Institute (NWI) workshop at the University of Wyoming will bring a wealth of experience that focuses on positive changes in the lifestyles, relationships, education and overall wellness for participants.

The free NWI workshops are scheduled not only for Native American students, but also other members of the UW community April 23-24. The UW Native American Education, Research and Cultural Center (NAERCC) sponsors the free, two-day event.

Robert Johnston, a Muskogee Creek/Choctaw tribal member, is the NWI founder and a popular Native American speaker and coach who has served Indian Country for more than 15 years. He uses humor, storytelling and music in his interactive presentations.

As a leadership trainer for youth, Johnston has served many organizations, including White Bison, United National Indian Tribal Youth, National Congress of American Indian and the NWI. He is a certified hypnotist and has studied sports motivation. His hypnosis programs are popular among Native communities throughout the United States and Canada.

The brother and sister team of Jordan and Josh Cocker, Kiowa/Tongan members, is among the 17 founders of the Indigenous 20-Something Project (I2SP). Jordan Cocker works as the NWI project coordinator for I2SP, has a master’s degree and has spent seven years in higher education in New Zealand. She is a southern Plains traditional dancer, graphic designer, artist, women’s advocate and change maker.

Josh Cocker is a NWI trainer and an outdoor behavioral health facilitator. He is a certified wilderness instructor and was raised in the Black Leggings Society, a military society of the Kiowa people, and continues to allow those traditional values to guide his life.

The NWI workshops are based on more than 30 years of wellness and healing training experiences, and offer training to bring positive behavioral change. Through positive youth and adult development models, Native specific and culture-based curricula and processes, mainstream approaches, and indigenous social research and culture are offered. NWI brings cutting-edge programs to Indian Country by the three experienced Native facilitators.

The workshops began Monday morning. The remaining April 23 schedule is:

-- Noon-3 p.m., faculty/staff training will focus on “being trauma-informed” through a Native lens. By connecting historical and intergenerational trauma to contemporary behaviors, participants will better understand themselves and others. Solutions and steps to moving forward to create a positive workplace will conclude the session. Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center, Salon A.

-- 3-5 p.m., student training will introduce the Indigenous 20-Something Project from the NWI that focuses on a generation healing their own generation from the lasting and toxic impacts of historical and intergenerational trauma. Participants will get to know each other better, discuss how trauma impacts their lives and, together, will discuss solutions. Johnston, and Jordan and Josh Cocker will facilitate. Gateway Center, Salon A.

The Tuesday, April 24 schedule is:

-- 11 a.m., a welcome message from UW President Laurie Nichols, plus a public presentation on “The Power of Positive Thinking,” presented by Johnston. The seminar will motivate participants to live and thrive in a new, proactive way. NAERCC classroom.

-- 5-7 p.m., second student training session, facilitated by Johnston, and Jordan and Josh Cocker. Gateway Center, Salon A.

For more information about NWI, visit For more information about the training workshops at UW, call James Trosper at (307) 766-8915 or (307) 714-1111, or email

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