Wisconsin’s Most Influential Native American Leaders for 2023, Part 4


    This is the fourth of a five-part series. Part one is here, part two is here and part three is here.

    Dr. Bret Benally Thompson, a member of the White Earth Nation, is a palliative care physician at UW Health and Meriter, and has been involved with Native American Center for Health Professions since before its inception. He also serves on the Council of Elders for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and is on the Board of Directors for the American Indian Cancer Foundation. As an alumnus of University of Minnesota-Duluth, he was part of their program to support Native American students during medical school. He completed both his Family Medicine residency and a fellowship in Palliative Care and Hospice Medicine in Alaska. Dr. Benally Thompson recently hosted a panel for Dr. Martin Luther Day in partnership with SMPH and UW-Health.

    Jason Dropik is head of school at the Indian Community School in Franklin, a private, faith-based school serving approximately 361 intertribal American Indian students from 4-year-old kindergarten through 8th grade. Over the course of 10 years at the school, he’s also served as a classroom teacher and associate principal. He joined ICS after 10 years teaching at UW-Milwaukee’s College for Kids and five years in the St. Francis School District. A member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, Dropik has an undergraduate degree in early and intermediate education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Master’s degree in Administrative Leadership from Concordia University. 

    Martina Gast is founder of Pipestone Law, specializing in tribal employment law. Martina has spent nearly all of her legal career specializing in labor and employment matters.  Prior to forming the firm, Martina served as an in-house employment attorney for the Forest County Potawatomi Community in Wisconsin. In that role, she was responsible for coordinating all employment and HR matters involving the tribe and its entities. She advised numerous HR professionals on a daily basis regarding a wide range of matters related to the nearly 4,000 employees working for the tribe and its entities. Before going in-house, Martina was an attorney with the Rothstein Law Firm in Arizona where she worked exclusively with tribal clients.  Martina began her legal career as a labor and employment attorney at large state and international firms in Wisconsin and Arizona. She serves on the board of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Indian Law Section. Martina is a member of the Red Rock Indian Band, an Ojibwe First Nation. She earned an undergraduate degree in anthropology and American Indian Studies and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin.

    Tim Annis is global brand manager for all of SC Johnson’s disinfection products. Originally from Sheboygan, he earned his undergraduate degree from UW-Madison in Political Science, Social Welfare and American Indian Studies, and went on to work with the university’s PEOPLE program, helping first-generation, low-income students achieve their college dreams. After earning an MBA from UW in 2016, he went on to work in brand management at Kraft Heinz before joining SC Johnson as global brand manager for Glade in 2019.

    Amanda White Eagle is senior counsel to the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Justice, a role she took on in 2019 after serving four years as the Nation’s attorney general. With more than 15 years of experience in tribal law, White Eagle has served as the Clinical Fellow for the NYU-Yale American Indian Sovereignty Project. White Eagle previously served as a judicial officer (an Interim Chief Judge and Associate Judge), as well as the tribe’s Attorney General and Executive Director, for the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Justice. She is admitted to the Ho-Chunk Bar Association, the State Bar of Wisconsin, the United States Supreme Court Bar, and the Federal Bar Association. Additionally, she serves as a tribal court judge or justice to tribal governments throughout the United States, including the Wampanoag Judiciary, Prairie Island Indian Community Court of Appeals, and Santee Sioux Nation Judiciary. Her previous experience includes serving as a State of Wisconsin County Court Commissioner, as well as an Adjunct Law Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. White Eagle graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Anthropology and French and a Certificate in American Indian Studies as well as a law degree from the UW-Madison School of Law.

    Alan Natachu is a Learning Technology Partner at Exact Sciences. Alan, of Zuni and Laguna heritage has spent over two decades in various teaching and training roles, from teaching art to Native American students in Denver, CO, to becoming a “Creative” with Apple. He spent a decade at Madison Area Technical College (MATC) as a Learning Experience Designer, working with MATC faculty with enhancing their classes with technology (from remediating accessibility concerns in teaching to classroom VR initiatives and everything in-between) and preparing them for different modes of classroom instruction, such as hybrid and online teaching. Alan is currently a Learning Technology Partner at Exact Sciences, where he continues to share his teaching and training knowledge on a nationwide and worldwide scale. Alan is also a young colorectal cancer (CRC) survivor. He was 35 when he was diagnosed with Stage 3b CRC cancer. He and his wife, Amanda, documented Alan’s journey from diagnosis to end of treatment, where he was told that there was no evidence of disease. They continue to share their journey with world.

    Part five coming tomorrow!