Today we’d like to introduce you to Bobbie Ikegami.
Hi Bobbie, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
This story is two-fold (I volunteer for the Wild Heart Sanctuary in Park City and work for a non-profit that provides resources for traditional elders on the Navajo Reservation.
I have always had a deep reverence for Indigenous people/horses and the teachings and wisdom they hold. The more I learned about the injustice and unspeakable treatment they both have endured for the last 200 years made me want to do something… anything to help heal the wounds caused by colonialism, ignorance, and greed.
In Nov. 2018, I was volunteering at an ANE Navajo rug show in Deer Valley and was excited to learn about the great work they were doing to help support the Navajo people. I decided I wanted to work for the “Adopt a Native Elder” nonprofit at that moment. Approximately 10 months later I took a position with them and it has been extremely fulfilling ever since.
The other volunteer work I do with the Sanctuary was inspired by an encounter with a horse named Red. My mother had just tragically died in a pedestrian accident in Sept 2012. A few days later I found myself at a retreat in Woodland Utah (I felt like I had to go) Part of the retreat was to “meet” a horse and a facilitator with the purpose of having an equine learning experience.
As I began the activity, all I could do was weep and stand in broken heart energy. Red walked across the paddock and laid his head on my heart then kissed my cheek… that was it and I was in love. (I’m crying right now just recalling the experience). That horse along with many strong and beautiful women not only helped me heal but inspired me to help others as much as I could.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
My experience has been great. My greatest challenge was being a brand new person on the scene and managing many new responsibilities and extended time away from my family.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
With Adopt a Native Elder (ANE) I do many things from processing donations to overseeing auctions. Being the Program assistant requires me to wear many hats.
During the food runs to the Navajo Reservation which happens 4 times a year, I drive a van of supplies. Once we get there I help to instruct 30-40 volunteers and oversee and distribute some of the resources we provide for the elders in our program. I am proud and honored to be able to help with getting essential assistance to those in need.
With the Wild Heart Sanctuary, I have been volunteering for about 4 years and spent the last 2 years as Board Chair. I have helped to oversee board meetings and help to develop and expand the non-profit’s work as advocates for wild horses. I also have volunteered in other capacities such as educating the public, fundraising & events, instructing horse journey yoga, leading retreats, and grant writing.
I am an empathetic and caring person who seeks greater well-being for all things that have a spirit. I am very passionate & inspired by horses and how they give unconditional love, teaching, and natural healing to humans.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
That we are all connected and each other’s teachers.