Iya Affo is a Culturalist and Historical Trauma Expert. She earned Western Certification as a Trauma Specialist and is a descendant of a long line of traditional healers from Benin Republic, West Africa. Iya is a Chief in the Village of Ouidah and a High Priestess in the West African Yoruba Tradition. In traditional ceremony she was bestowed the title, Iya, which means Holy Mother and given the name Wekenon- Mother of the Universe.
Iya has visited more than 25 countries around the world and has resided in Native American, Yoruba, Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist communities in various countries. While on pilgramage to Benin Republic, she lived among Medicine Men and Women to learn the ways of the Shaman and understand the truth about the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. In China, she lived in the Shaolin Temple, the cradle of Zen Buddhism, and immersed herself in Chinese culture. After a spiritual calling to India, Iya sojourned in a Hindu spiritual community and lived a minimal lifestyle while imbuing Hindu customs and ideology. Serving Navajo Nation and the Gila River Indian Community, Iya found a home among the egalitarian, indigenous people of North America.
After living abroad for several years, Iya returned to the United States and in December 2018, Native American elders invited her to Toronto, Canada to participate in forming the first Canadian/American collaboration to heal ACES and Historical Trauma. She debuted her presentation of The Symphony of Traditional Medicine and Western Medicine to Heal ACES and Historical Trauma at the 2018 National ACES Conference in San Francisco, California. In collaboration with Governor Ducey’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family, Iya created and presented the Historical Trauma session at the 5th Annual ACES Summit of Arizona. She has also presented at the Trauma-Informed Resilient Church conference, the Franciscan Renewal Center, the Native American Disability Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Igniting the Warrior Spirit Conference in the Four Corners area. Iya was a storyteller at the 25th Annual Child Abuse Prevention Conference in Phoenix, where she also presented a break-out session on Historical Trauma. Most recently, she presented at the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Coalition and appeared at the 31st Annual ATTACh Conference in Phoenix.
Iya strives to cultivate love and inclusivity. She hopes to facilitate the decolonization and subsequent healing of indigenous people. Iya advocates for the harmonization of Traditional Medicine and Western Medicine to facilitate holistic healing.
Iya is a board member on the Arizona ACES Consortium, serves as the Chair of the Historical Trauma work group and is the founder of Phoenix Rising to Resilience virtual community on the ACES Connection platform. Iya currently works with families in crisis on the Gila River Indian Community and is the founder of Heal Historical Trauma.