by ILI Fellow Alum Theo E.J. Wilson
Get a first-hand perspective on the ILI experience from this Year 2 ILI Fellow alum.
“Adventure often announces itself with a whisper; the magnificent disguised as the mundane” - Unknown.
When I saw ILI alum, Bobby LeFebre, post the open call for submissions to the Intercultural Leadership Institute, I almost scrolled right past it. I thought it was for LatinX activists only. The opportunity looked great, but having the utmost respect for the culture, I didn’t want to infringe. He quickly clarified that it was open to far more than just LatinX applicants, and for me to take the chance and apply. I felt silly for not reading further into the details. We had a good laugh, and I applied.
In September 2018, ILI Partner First Peoples Fund hosted the first of three place-based intensives for ILI Fellows in Lakota Territory/South Dakota. The five-day leadership immersion brought together the second cohort of ILI Fellows for shared learning, personal exchange and direct experience with the true history and sacred places in Lakota Territory.
“This work is so important,” said First Peoples Fund President Lori Pourier. “The partners who came together to start ILI have long term relationships, but we need to widen the circle and provide space for other arts & cultural leaders who voices are an important part of the larger story.”
By Lori Lea Pourier, Maka Citomi Omani Win | Woman Who Walks the Earth.
Oglala Lakota, President, First Peoples Fund
My Lakota name was given to me by my Unci Olivia Black Elk Pourier who made her journey to the Wanagi Yata (the place of the Spirits) when my daughter Shahiyela, now 19, was 8 years old.
During your stay you will learn about the Lakol Wicho’an (the Lakota Way of Life) and how we are taught that our life here on Unci Maka (Grandmother Earth) mirrors the stars (Lakota cosmologies). Our Creation Story begins in the Black Hills. Through story and in practice you will learn about the Lakota virtues of Woksape (Wisdom), Woohitika (Bravery) Wowacintanka (Fortitude) and Wacantognaka (Generosity).
Lynette Two Bulls is the ILI Host Facilitator for the Lakota Territory, the location for the first of three place-based intensives for the ILI Fellows. She shared her thoughts about empowerment, leadership and the sacred Black Hills as a powerful and centering place to start ILI Fellows on their year-long journey together.
Lynette Two Bulls is Oglala Lakota and Cheyenne and her Lakota name Tuŋwéyaŋ kiyapiwiŋ means “Scouts Woman.” She is originally from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and now resides with her family on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana.
Get a glimpse into the ILI intensive experience through this day-by-day look.
Get an Instagram glimpse into the ILI intensive experience