Home Wisconsin Wisconsin’s 39 Most Influential Native American Leaders, Part 3

Wisconsin’s 39 Most Influential Native American Leaders, Part 3


This is the third of a five-part series. Part one is here and part two is here

Marvin Defoe is an educator, teacher, birch bark canoe builder, and Red Cliff elder. He grew up in the Red Cliff community and is part of the sturgeon clan. Named Shingway Banase in Anishinaabe, he is passionate about maintenance and revitalization of the Ojibwe language. Marvin is past Vice Chair on the tribal council and has been the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for four years. 

Margaret Ellis is cofounder of Kenco Tribal Marketing, a full service marketing and procurement agency serving tribal business enterprises. She also owns apparel company Mirax, LLC. She also provides consulting services for organizations such as the National Indian Gaming Association, Native American Basketball Invitational Foundation, and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin in the areas of event planning and business development, capital campaign, and Oneida language translation and outreach. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Haskell Indian Nations University, a M.A. in Global Indigenous Nation Studies from the University of Kansas, and is a candidate for her Ed.D in first Nations Education with a focus on Indegenous economy and small business education.

Brian Bisonette is Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and serves on the Sawyer County Board of Supervisors. A veteran of the US Army, he served two terms on the Tribal Council, including six years as secretary/treasurer. 


Samantha Majhor (Dakota and Assiniboine descendant) is an Assistant Professor of English with a focus on Native American Literature at Marquette University. Her current research builds on her dissertation, “We are All Related: Contemporary Native American Literature and the Nonhuman Turn,” to explore the portrayal of natural and cultural materials like beaded dresses, houses, books, cars, and rivers in prose and poetry by Native writers. The project seeks to underscore long-held indigenous philosophies about material life and make visible the ways those concepts are both congruent with and divergent from recent theoretical turns toward materialism and object-oriented ontologies. She is also an advocate for Indigenous language revitalization efforts and a student of the Dakota language.

Jennifer K. Gauthier is a community development educator in Menominee County/Nation. Gauthier is involved with food sovereignty in Indigenous communities and supports local partners with strategic planning elements. She has spent the last six years at the University of Wisconsin Division of Extension taking Extension programming and resources and adapting them to fit the needs of the community. She was named one of UW-Madison’s Outstanding Women of color for 2021-22.


Kristina Stanley is founder and head chef of Abaaso, a plant-based wholesale and catering company turned consulting service. She is also program manager for I-Collective, a nationwide network of Indigenous chefs, seed-keepers, farmers and others working to preserve and celebrate ancestral traditions. She is project manager for the Gathering Basket, I-Collective’s online Indigenous community journal. A member of the Red Cliff Lake Superior Chippewa tribe, she is also an adjunct professor at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton.

Dan Terrio is Diversity and Inclusion Manager for Milwaukee County. Dan presently leads the workforce development efforts for the county’s 4,000 employees and currently sits as the highest ranked Native American leader in Milwaukee County’s government. After growing up on the Stockbridge-Munsee Indian Reservation in North Central Wisconsin, he spent more than 20 years as an independent DEI and leadership trainer and consultant, giving over 7,500 keynote addresses/motivational presentations to high schools, businesses, leadership conferences and colleges in all 50 states. He is a nationally renowned and TED certified motivational speaker. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UW-Green Bay and an executive certificate in diversity and inclusion from Cornell.

Part 4 coming tomorrow!