The newest episode of our university podcast, ‘MindfulU at Naropa University,’ is out now! This week’s episode features Naropa adjunct faculty Ian Sanderson.
“Think of the martial art behind the idea of ‘ninja,’ and the associations that pop culturally in all our heads when we hear that. Ninja art is still around, and it really is an art. Ninja literally means “persevering person;” Someone who faces life and is able to win – not just for themselves, but for everybody. As indigenous peoples, we’ve had to learn how to keep going in the face of enormous, overwhelming adversity. also, the spiritual lineage of ninjitsu is Buddhism, and a whole lot of that is about how to keep going.”
A member of the Mohawk Nation, Turtle clan, Ian Sanderson 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.