Artist’s Way Circle was founded in May 20, 2000 as a living Memorial to my best friend & fellow UWM Student Steve Nemacheck who committed suicide March 5, 2000. Steve was a Blackfoot Artist Student at University of Wisconsin of Milwaukee with me who had PTSD after a major car accident. Steve’s wife left him and he ended up hospitalized, but as soon as he was released Steve committed suicide. I never got to say goodbye! I created this Artist’s Way Circle for a safe place for artists to come in the sacred circle so they will never be alone. I am a Certified Peer Support and Wellness Specialist trained in answering mental health & suicide calls with Safe Harbor crisis center with Community Alliance.
My name is Wenona Lee Gardner. I am a Native American Journalist. My Indian name is Wabun Anung which means in Morning Star in Ojibwe. I am enrolled in the Stockbridge – Munsee band of Mohican Tribal Nation of Bowler, Wisconsin. I reside in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
I have a BA in Business and Management from Alverno College. I serve as the Communications Ambassador for the Alverno College Alumnae Council. I am currently a New Media Journalism Master’s of Arts Graduate Student from Full Sail University with a graduation date October 9, 2019. I am a Singer, Songwriter, formally trained Musician of 19 Instruments. Music Journalist and Professional Member of Native American Journalist of Association and the Internet Creator’s Guild.
I am a Native American Certified Peer Support and Wellness Specialist. I apprenticed with my mother Medicine Woman, Pipe Carrier, Tribal Genealogist, Warrior Woman the late Eleanor Marie Monteen (Soto) of the Brothertown, Oneida, and Mohican Tribal Nations whose Indian name is Wambli Wasu Winyan which in Lakota means Hail Eagle Woman! I was her Medicine Helper who I helped run Native American ceremonies with her. Wambli Wasu Winyan she had the vision of my name “Morning Star a Sign of Hope” and a “Coming of a New Dawn.” My mother with Cultural Director Potawatomi Earl Meshigaud from MI and gave me my Indian name Wabun Anung which means Morning Star in a Native American Naming Ceremony in Illinois in August 3, 1990.
I have been an Artist for 37 years trained in Allen-Field, Fritsche, Pulaski, South Division, Riverside University, Lake Band Inc, Alverno College, UWM, and Full Sail University. I am also I am a writer, livestreamer on YouNow and OG YouTuber since for 13 years. In addition, I have also been an Artist’s Way Teacher based on the Teachings of Julia Cameron for 23 years.
I just found out that my mom just passed away and I have to make funeral arrangements out of town. Our reservation is up north four hours from Milwaukee. Traditionally we turn off cellphones and computers and go into Ceremony in a sacred fire for three days in mourning.
My mom was more than my mom and teacher we were best friends staying up all night talking about Ceremony and genealogy, and fighting for our Brothertown Tribe to regain Federal Recognition! She was a Water Protector, Environmental Activist, Rainbow Warrior, and so much more! I can not stop listening to Native American Music sobbing telling the family the news and gathering my large family and three tribes to come to the sacred fire!
Thanks to my Mom she gave me the Indian name Wabun Anung which means Morning Star. At my Indian naming ceremony in August 3, 1990 in a cabin by a lake in Illinois my Mom shared her vision for me was that despite all the trauma I suffered from incest from my father from ages 1 years old – 15 years old, running away from home because nobody believed me and would make it stop, testifying in court against my father who was facing 10 years in prison and a $30,000 fine resulting in him getting a felony sexual assault conviction, which he became a registered sex offender for life, went to jail, and losing his job at Milwaukee Public Schools around children, resulting in me being sexually assaulted in foster care by a 26 year old foster brother, and being placed on suicide watch at 16 at DePaul hospital resulting in a PTSD diagnosis and being put on disability. Mom said despite all of that I was still a bright shining light 🔆in a sea of darkness. Mom told me I am a sign of Hope a coming a New Dawn. That was why my Mom gave me the sacred ceremonial name Morning Star. And I have dedicated my entire life to upload that light in everything I do to live up to the responsibility of the name she bestowed upon me.
I am also grateful that mom made me her Medicine Woman Apprentice. Together we ran ceremonies for the community including Healing Circles, Talking Circles, Prayer Circles, and Pipe Ceremonies. When Mom and I found out that Jeffrey Dahmer had murdered and eaten my Oneida cousin Jaime Doxtator Mom and I together lead a Sacred Mourning Ceremony in Milwaukee for the Milwaukee Indian Community to address the outrage of one of our own was cannibalized and together we grieved this loss. Mom and I sang for all 3 Native American Churches the Congregation of the Great Spirit Church, Congregation Great Spirit Lutheran Church, and Native American Methodist Church with the Oneida Intertribal Singers. Mom and I together taught children in Milwaukee Public Schools, Shorewood Schools, and Boys and Girls Native American Culture through Native Dance. Mom and I did genealogy work for Mohican, Oneida, and Brothertown relatives especially using our geneaology work to fight for Brothertown Tribe to regain Federal Recognition! Thanks to my Mom she taught me our tribal Languages which lead me to became a Language Activist for my Native people where I represented my tribes at the Breath of Life Archival Institute of Indigenous Languages in Washington DC where I searched for my tribal languages in the National Archives, Library of Congress, American Indian Museum, and Smithsonian searching through hundreds of 100 year old documents. Mom taught me to be a Water Protector, Environmental Activist, and for 10 years an Environment Engineer studying our sacred water ways as a member of the American Indian Science Engineering Society and GUEST Program at UWM with Professor Rose Daitsman.
Mom was a true warrior and she taught me to fight for our rights and for Mother Earth! I owe everything to her!
Thank you Mom I will Always Eternally Be Grateful and Love.
As a Native American Journalist with my White Turtle Rainbow Native American Media and Broadcasting Company and launching a Native Podcast on Native American Music and News I had to write a 17 Page Podcast Business Plan. So in order to complete my Podcast Business Plan I have been researching Native American Podcasts and the Plight of even being heard as a Native American Journalist.
Of all my research this Native American Podcast Article All Nations Podcast episode # 4 on the topic is a real Native American based on DNA? This is trending since Trump calling Presidential 2020 Candidate Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” in a demeaning slur instead of out of respect for the real 10 year old Pocahontas who as a teen was captured and sex trafficked to England dying at only 21 in a foreign land in England. The real Pocahontas not the overly sexualized Disney Fantasy of Pochahontas that makes me furious. On top of being racially slurred by the President, Elizabeth was furthered attacked for using a legitimate DNA test to prove Native American heritage.
As a 32 year expert Native American Genealogist who also uses DNA to actively reunite Native American people including the Lost Birds the Native American Adopted people this issue about DNA and Native American heritage is very relative to me. I respect Dr Kim’s extensive academic background on colonization. However, my work for decades with Lost Birds as Chief Arvol Looking Horse refers to Native American Adopted People during the sacred blessings he bestows with his White Buffalo Pipe during the Wiping Away The Tears Ceremony Indian Summer Festival Sunday Prayer Service in September 2011 run by my Church Congregation of the Great Spirit Church on 10th and Lapham in Milwaukee, WI 53204. Matter of fact the issue of reuniting the Lost Bird Native American Adopted and Fostered Children is so important Indian Country that Indian Summer Festival featured a theme one year on Coming Home including featured booths with genealogists to help bring home Native American People back to their tribes! I was a Lost Bird Native American Foster Child, I know first hand the power of DNA can have affirming and reconnecting Native American culture and Tribes. Ancestry DNA proved I was indeed Mohican and qualify for enrollment after my Mohican Father disowned me for saying I was not his daughter and there was no way he could ever conceived me because he claimed my mother was in Milwaukee while he claimed he was 4 hour drive away on the Mohican Reservation the entire time before and during the entire 9 months test. DNA test proved he is my Mohican Father no matter how much he tried to mess with my head for over decades.My Mohican Sister Sassafras’s bought the DNA test and proved without a doubt he was my Mohican Father after lying to me for 2 decades! I challenge Dr Kim’s negative notions about the Ancestry DNA that actually reconnected me to my Mohican family and Mohican Tribe. After years of wandering around trying to prove who I really it was the DNA test in my case healed that my stolen Native American Identity robbed by an abusive Mohican Father, that DNA test actually strengthened my Mohican ties to Mohican family and Tribe! I will stand up and defend the value of DNA tests to restoring Native American enrollment and it is a very powerful tool to reconnect Lost Bird Native American Tribal Members!
This story needs to show the other side the positive power of DNA tests to strengthen Tribes.
I shared your email with my FullSail Graduate Journalism Professors, UWM Professor in Ojibwe Language and Director of Electa Quinney Institute, a Mohican Tribal Government Worker, a representative from Native American Journalist Association which I am a member, and my Native American attorneys. They all said I am legally allowed to publish stories, videos, podcasts, photos, survey, etc for my Graduate School Journalism studies on the Indian Summer Festival. I am not representing you as an organization. I am representing and giving a voice to the native and non native from local, state, tribal, and global participants your stakeholders which you failed to let them know what was going on before March 18. All of them have said I and all of us have a right to be heard and I am giving them both the invitation and platform to get their voices heard! My Graduate Journalism Professor gave me the official academic approval and green lighted me to do a 5 month investigative Graduate Journalism Project on Indian Summer Festival. I am an Honor Roll Student with an A 3.5 GPA. Even after I showed all the ISF emails, messengers,and ISF social media posts I still got an A on my Responses to Indian Summer Festival March 18 Press Release article and video and an A for my Digital News Production Class. I was told by my Professor to get to work!
I invite you and the entire board to do interviews with me because believe it or not I have loved Indian Summer Festival before the board was even created in 1985 with my cultural teacher Charlene Wheelock who helped create that board and where she died at the Indian Summer Festival Pow Wow where my Mom tried to save her life giving her CPR. I am doing this as my homework assignment because I love Indian Summer Festival and Charlene! Charlene told me in 1984 it was her dream for a Pow Wow honoring Native American Culture at the lake BEFORE Indian Summer even existed in 1985! I am doing this in loving memory of my beloved WE Indians teacher Charlene and her Lake Pow Wow dream!
I am doing this for my church and Father Ed Cook who you never gave heads up notice before March 18 where ISF is our major church fundraiser to keep our church open and where I and my church religiously served ISF holding Sunday Prayer service for all ISF attendees each year! Including the one where Chief Arvol Looking Horse blessed me as a Native American foster kid along with the other about 200 Native American Adopted and Foster Kids who were welcomed back into the Native American Circle because of the Wiping Away the Tears Ceremony. I am covering this story because of those Lost Bird Native American Adopted and Foster Kids like me which matter to me! I am doing this so their Lost Bird Voices are heard too! Father Ed Cook and the Congregation of the Great Spirit Church deserve to have our angry voices heard! Father Ed is so mad at you that he told me whenever I talk about the situation to USE his name!
I offer you and the Board including recording video and audio recording interviews to hear your side of the story. I do actually care about this board and still have personal loved ones on this Board going back decades to the 80s! That is why I came to you first! Considering your emails, messenger texts, and social media my Graduate Journalism Professor told me upfront not to expect you to agree for an interview. My Professor told me all I had to do was show that I officially asked you which I did before and I am doing now! If I get a no or no response my Graduate Journalism Professor instructed me to then report your no response or no response at all when asked and in my published articles.
My follow up article on Indian Summer Festival will be available tomorrow as scheduled by my University!