In 1975, Columbus resident Selma L. Walker, a Native American from the Yankton Reservation in South Dakota, founded the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO) as a way to reach out to fellow Native Americans. These days, the center is busy preserving Native American spirituality culture and philosophy, as well as meeting the basic needs of the community said Mark Welsh, program director of the organization.
"Originally, this was a place for Native Americans in the area to come and have a little soup and be able to relax," said Welsh, a descendent of the Dakota tribe. "Then Selma realized, there was a large Native American population in the city needing food, clothing, household items ... and assistance getting things like (driver's) licenses and jobs. So she began to tutor them and help them anyway she could."
Walker died in 1997, he said.
Because many of the 9,000 Native Americans now living in Central Ohio have lost the language and spirituality of …