WIEA Region: East
Tribal Affiliation: Menominee
Organization: Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin
Title: Tribal Education Director
Posoh! My name is Shannon Chapman and I am the new Menominee Tribal Education Director. I replaced Virginia Nuske who retired in June 2016 after 41 years of service.
I began my educational career at Menominee Tribal School in August 1996, serving until June 2016 in the following capacities: Student Teacher, Title I Tutor, Coach, Club Advisor, 3rd/4th/5th grade teacher, Assistant Principal, and eventually Principal/Administrator; with a 3-year term as board member on the Menominee Indian School District.
I am very excited as I begin this new endeavor in the Tribal Education Department, working in conjunction with the Wisconsin Indian Education Association. My professional objective is to utilize my education and experience to improve educational opportunities for American Indian youth.
WIEA provides the professional network, resources, and advocacy for Indian education that are needed, as all tribes represented are working toward the same goal of creating stronger, healthier native communities.
Brian holds a Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and is currently a Doctoral candidate in Indigenous Education.
He is currently Director of the Lac Du Flambeau Public School Cultural Connections Program and serves as the Lac du Flambeau Healthier Community Action Team (HCAT) Behavioral Health Project Director.
As WIEA President, Brian is a staunch advocate of Native education and cultural inclusion. He is presently working to build an American Indian Studies – Wisconsin Act 31 curriculum that will be used as the guiding principals throughout Wisconsin’s public school system.
Brian lives in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, with his wife and children.
WIEA Region: East
Tribal Affiliation: Enrolled Menominee, Stockbridge/Munsee descendant
Retired Tribal Education Director – 1975-2016
Virginia Nuske is a Tribal Elder from the Menominee Indian Tribe, having served on WIEA for over 30 years. Virginia retired as Tribal Education Director for the Menominee Indian Tribe earlier this year, after serving in that capacity since 1975-2016.
She currently serves WIEA as the organization’s Treasurer. She previously served as both President and Secretary.
Virginia sits on the College of Menominee Nation’s Board of Trustees as the Chair, and has been on the board since 1997.
She is a grandmother, great-grandmother and community role model.
Aaron Bird Bear is the Interim Assistant Dean for Student Diversity Programs in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bird Bear oversees five academic programs serving pre-college, undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Education, including the American Indian Curriculum Services unit supporting teacher education.
Beginning in 2012, Bird Bear began assisting the School of Education’s efforts to incorporate American Indian Studies into public PK-16 education. Bird Bear received his Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis MS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“I support the Wisconsin Indian Education Association’s goal to advocate, address and act on issues on Indian education at the tribal, local, state and national levels. I remain dedicated to supporting Native Americans in higher education and have been dedicated to creating a more culturally-responsive university to meet the needs of Native Americans, including establishing an American Indian Student and Cultural Center and Dejope Residence Hall, as well as currently helping UW-Madison establish a strategic plan to develop realistic, practical action plans for projects that unite tribal and university resources.”
WIEA Region: South
Tribal Affiliation: Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (Ojibwe)
Organization/Business: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Title: Interim American Indian Curriculum Services Consultant
A first-generation college graduate, Rebecca earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Art and American Indian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014.
In her current position in the School of Education at UW, Rebecca works with pre-service teachers to implement instruction around the history, culture, and sovereignty of the 12 American Indian nations of Wisconsin. By serving on the WIEA board, Rebecca hopes to expand outreach efforts among American Indian students around the state by connecting students to resources that promote opportunity and advancement across all educational settings.
WIEA Region: Central
Tribal Affiliation: Stockbridge-Munsee Community
Organization/Business: Stockbridge-Munsee Community
Title: Director of Education, Employment, and Training
Dr. Bowman’s strong conviction for equality in Indigenous education is what drives her compassion to work collaboratively at removing barriers and improving the education experience for Indigenous people at all levels of academia.
She believes that education for American Indians is an essential factor in preserving tribal nations through adversary in this century and the centuries to come.
Barb Blackdeer-Mackenzie is a Ho-Chunk Nation tribal member and currently the Resource Center supervisor for the Ho-Chunk Nation Social Services, Child & Family Services division, and now facilitates facilitator training groups in Mending Broken Ho-Chunk Hearts, Medicine Wheel, produces parent coaching materials, and edits the division’s employee newsletter. Barb has worked for the Ho-Chunk Nation Office of the President in an executive capacity for over a decade and served in capacities such as chief of staff, public relations, and executive directors of education, business and social services.
She received her bachelors degree from Winona State University and her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire. She is currently on hiatus from her doctoral studies in Education Leadership with St. Mary’s University.
She has recently been appointed as a design research partner to a national Family Leadership Design Collaborative (FLDC) through Washington State University. In 2011, Barb became a “Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity” (SEED) Project on Inclusive Curriculum nationally trained facilitator. Since then, she has run several local groups, has been part of the leadership group for WI SEED Institute, and has recently been contracted to assist with National SEED Leaders Week training.
Also a representative of the Wisconsin Indian Education Association, Barb currently serves as Vice President and represents the Western Region of Wisconsin. She served
* State Superintendent’s Task Force for Rural Schools, Libraries and Communities from 2005-2015.
* As the first Native American to be elected to the Black River Falls School District Board of Education and appointed a Policy-Resolutions committee member for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.
* State Superintendent’s High School Task Force, charged with discovering and providing recommendations for best high school practices in the state. The final report and recommendations from the High School Task Force are available through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
Barb is a past recipient of the Josephine WhiteEagle Fellowship and the two-time recipient of the prestigious John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Journalist in Residence. Barb’s background allowed her to instruct students at the University of WI—Eau Claire in the fields of Communication/ Journalism, American Indian Studies, Women’s Studies, and in the School of Education.
Adding to her growing repertoire of workshop topics, Barb offers professional development to groups and organizations on topics such as trauma-informed care, historic and intergenerational trauma, Act 31, bias, recovering at-risk youth to the school setting, special education advocacy, and working with Native American students.
In 2006, Barb was awarded the UWEC Outstanding Woman of Color in Education Award from the UW System’s Women’s Studies Consortium and Office of Academic Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for her work in the Ho-Chunk community, coaching and advising youth on resiliency and academic success.
She lives in Black River Falls with her husband, Drew, and two children, Jo and William.
Susan is a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and proudly serves not only her community but Native Wisconsin as a WIEA Board Member.
Susan believes WIEA is exemplary in their commitment to ACT 31 and to providing historically accurate, culturally embedded, place-based, contemporary and developmentally appropriate curriculum about the history and contributions of Wisconsin’s Indigenous peoples throughout the state. She says WIEA continues to highlight the message that American Indian nicknames and mascots are not neutral symbols, and that their continued use by schools, sports teams and other organizations have negative consequences for ALL students, not just Native American students.
Susan says that working at Nicolet College is unique in the sense that three of the 11 sovereign nations of Wisconsin are located within the district.
“I quickly realized that Nicolet’s student population was highly representative of American Indian students coming from each of these communities. I felt it was important and appropriate for Nicolet and this region to have to have a voice and representation on the WIEA board. I see that WIEA is not only a strong supporter of our schools and students but our native educators as well.”
Susan lives in Minocqua, WI, with her husband and is active in the American Indian community across the state and beyond.