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Seeds Artists Roster

The Planting Seeds of Knowledge (SEEDS) is a grant program for Wisconsin schools and other community groups to present Native Artists who lead interactive and engaging residencies, workshops and performances.   The Seeds Artists work in educational settings with teachers and students, integrating curriculum, creativity, and culture.  Teachers in public schools or non-profit organizations can apply for the SEEDS grant for bringing one of the Seeds artists to their school campus, or request an online streaming presentation. Other companies can negotiate directly with the Seeds Artists for presentations or awareness training about Native American history, culture, and art. For additional teacher resources, visit the Wisconsin First Nations website. 

Mark Denning

Marin Webster Denning, Naadawe Banaise • Naame n’dodeym

Marian Mark Denning image

Mark Denning, Performing Artist and culture educator

Artist: Marin Webster Denning, Naadawe Banaise • Naame n’dodeym (Sturgeon Clan)

Lacrosse – a Wisconsin Original
Thousands of student athletes playing lacrosse in the state of Wisconsin but not many know the origins of the game here in our state. Native origin stories plus historical records from our state are a part of an interactive program perfect for school or community activities. Lacrosse programs can be tailored to fit a variety of spaces, ages and number of participants. Basic lacrosse equipment is provided for a safe and informative experience. If you don’t have a lacrosse program already, this is a great introduction for players and schools. If you’re lucky enough to already be a part of the fastest growing sport in Wisconsin, we can improve engagement with a deeper understanding of the cultural aspects and teachings of this game!

Reclaimed Poetry
This program was developed from a 2010 as an idea to inspire poetry for all ages and reading abilities. Our version makes Native American culture and history personal to the student, no matter their background. We work with you to revitalize & repurpose retired or about-to-be-removed books, works of fiction, biography, history, magazines or newspaper articles local to your area. Students will be given a chance to discover hidden messages in the texts that they can apply after learning information about Wisconsin’s Native people. This is a great program that can enhance reading, writing, vocabulary recognition, history and literature while creating works of art out of old texts.

Clanology: Kinships, Climate Change & Responsibilities
When was the last time you had an 8-foot polar bear in your art room? This program stars a life size fiberglass polar bear that can be painted by your students with a message that they collectively choose. First, students will learn about the cultural relationship tribal communities retain with the natural world. We talk about foundational principals of relationship and values-based living along with the changes taking place affecting our climate. Then, we apply those foundations to the roles and responsibilities of traditional clans and depict those key learnings in what we paint. The experience comes full circle when students create a communal message that is carried by the white bear of the north – our beloved polar bear.

The Art of Native American Dance
This is the most popular of our programs as well as one of the most diverse. Many people have heard of Pow Wows but fewer have attended one or understand the various dance styles or protocols. In this program, we explain traditional dance regalia piece by piece and describe the meaning behind the designs. We encourage conversations with students as an integral part of the program. At the end, students will not only know more about Native dance, but they will also have an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned! This is a fun, fast moving program perfect for all ages and abilities.

Storytelling Through Ledger Art
Aside from our oral traditions, other methods of storytelling include etched or painted depictions or symbols on rock, animal hide, tree bark and precious metals. For youth especially, we encourage them to consider four fundamental questions: where do I come from, where am I going, who am I, and what is my purpose in life? Ledger Art is a very approachable art form that lends itself to artistic expressions of those fundamental questions and to express important moments in a person’s life. Students are given the traditional story behind Ledger Art and then challenged to work within the constraints of this unique art form. Bounded by color and paper, students have a chance to learn about another culture and apply it to their everyday life!

Race Based Mascots and Logos-Native American Perspectives
One of the most challenging conversations in classrooms today center about race. This program invites students to become active participants in a safe discussion about one of the most public debates surrounding the topic of Native American mascots and logos. Marketing, branding, art and cultural identity are discussed to create a classroom environment that invites active learning, listening and decision making with respect at the heart of the conversation. Marin Webster Denning was the face of Marquette University in the 1980s as “The First Warrior” and brings the perspective of being a living representation of a college basketball team and of a people. This program is suggested for middle school, high school and college age students who are open to evolving conversations.

Download Mark’s program descriptions flyer. 

Wade Fernandez

Wade Fernandez : Wicwiwen Apis Mahwaew (Black Wolf)
Menominee Nation

wade fernandez image

Award winning musician, songwriter, performer

Artist: Wade Fernandez

About the Artist

With Menominee roots that extend well over 12,000 years to the land that is now called Wisconsin, Wade Fernandez, Wiciwen Apis-Mahwaew, has been sharing his musical art and respectfully representing the Menominee culture on stages and classrooms worldwide for over 25 years. As an enrolled member of the Menominee Nation, he lives on the reservation where he and his family both live a contemporary life; they gather and hunt the traditional foods in the forests of their ancestors and strive to live in a respectful, honorable, and sustainable way. Wade is an international award winning musician/recording artist/songwriter/producer who performs with voice, guitar, Native American flute, and hand drum. As a certified teacher with extensive educational experience in classroom, on the stage, and parenting (proud father of 5), Wade combines a wealth of experience, a warm personality, and a sense of humor that has kept students and audiences repeatedly inviting him back year after year.

Performance & Residency Information
This is just a sample of programs offered. Wade has extensive experience working with all age groups and all programs may be altered to fit any age group.

Finding Your Voice Through The Native American Flute (Grade 5+, multi-day residency)
The Native American Flute is a therapeutic instrument that helps one to deeply express their emotions and innate music. Students learn how to play and improvise on the Native American Flute. No previous musical experience is necessary. This is usually a 4 day residency that culminates at the end of the week with students performing a concert with Wade for the school and community so the students may apply and share their newfound talents and build self-esteem. This residency can also be condensed as an in-service to help teachers think outside of the box and unleash their creative selves. Please note there are usually extra fees for flute purchase or rental, so please inquire directly with artist.

Menominee Culture, Storytelling, Music, Hands-On (Grades K-5)
Students can learn the following in discussion with teacher’s classroom needs and standards correlation: a Menominee game, wild rice harvesting & partake in dancing the rice, hear Menominee stories, Menominee Language, and Menominee music.

Menominee Culture, History, and Social Issues, A Multimedia Presentation (Grade 6-12)
This lecture that can include a multimedia presentation about Menominee culture, history, and social issues from the past to the present. Images of the Menominee people from the late 1800s to the present and videos may be used to create discussion with the class.

Music Workshop (All grades)
As an award winning professional touring musician who produced 9 CDs of his own, as well as others, this workshop is geared specifically for your music class. Topics may include: Native American music from the traditional to the contemporary, music business, how to deal with performance anxiety, music technology, guitar playing, songwriting, and careers in music.

Erasing Stereotypes Through Arts & Culture (Grades K-5)
This workshop breaks down stereotypes by teaching about Menominee and other Native American cultures, demonstrating how honoring and learning about yourself and others creates understanding which can lead to strong friendships. The class learns and participates in a round dance at the end to represent the coming together of all people on Mother Earth.

Wade is an award winning international touring contemporary American Indian performing artist and is available for concerts at your school. His school performances provide music, inspiration and awareness for youth. This enables them to recognize and honor their gift of life and talents by developing and sharing them with others on their pathway to a successful and healthy future.

Download Wade’s program descriptions flyer 

Paul Ninham

Paul Ninham: Native American Traditional Games

paul ninham image

Teaching and sharing Native American traditional games

Artist: Paul Ninham
Telephone: 920-370-3317

About the Artist
Paul is Wolf Clan and a proud member of the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education in 1984; earned his Master of Tribal Administration and Governance from the University of Minnesota Duluth in May of 2018; and has enjoyed working in the Native Youth Development field ever since. Physical Education, Parks and Recreation Management and Native Traditional Games is his passion and has allowed him to live, work and play in Durango, CO, Santa Fe, NM, Albuquerque, NM, Tempe, AZ and at home on the Oneida Reservation. Paul also taught Physical Education and was the Recreation Director at the Indian Community School in Milwaukee, WI where he successfully implemented Native Traditional Games into both programs. In August of 2014 Paul completed his duties and responsibilities as an elected Tribal Councilman for the Oneida Nation, 12 years of serving his Community and Nation on the local, state, federal and international levels have been an invaluable experience for him.

Performance & Residency Information
It is Paul’s ambition to teach and share Native traditional games (The Original Games) so that the games that are inherent to our People are perpetuated and sustained into the future. Paul implements culturally responsive physical activities as he teaches the games from a holistic perspective. He teaches the origin, history, and purpose of the games – as they have been taught to them. Through presentations, demonstrations, and game play, students are immersed in Indigenous culture as they participate in the six components of physical fitness: strength, speed, balance, power, coordination, and agility. When time allows, guided imagery and expression of students’ feelings and emotions are shared in a group format.

Classroom experience includes presentation, demonstration, and game play with up to 4 different games. Content can be adapted. Game times depend on time allotted in each class and based on 4-day residency versus full day workshop.
Choose from the following games. Paul can also provide guidance based on classroom space and individual needs.

Native Alaskan Games:
Eskimo Stick Pull, Seal Hop, Butt Hop, One-Foot High Kick, Two-Foot High Kick, The Laughing Game, Scissor Broad Jump
Running Games:
Ball Race
Field Games:
Lacrosse, Longball, Double-Ball, Shinny
Specialty Games:
Chunky, Hoop and Pole

Download Paul’s program descriptions flyer

Jennifer Stevens

Oneida Legends Through Pottery

jennifer stevens image

Shares ancient Oneida legends and storytelling through her pottery and music

Artist: Jennifer Stevens
Cell: (414) 552-8637

About the Artist

Jennifer Stevens enjoys creating Oneida pottery, composing music, and classical singing. Through pottery and music, she is able to integrate the Oneida culture in her creative and unique workshops. These culturally relevant and educational programs are designed to meet the needs of each school and organization.

Oneida Legends & Storytelling Through Pottery
Jennifer Stevens shares ancient Oneida legends and storytelling through her pottery. She leads interactive discussions about the Oneida Nations of Wisconsin, their culture, and Oneida pottery. Students will learn how to use Oneida hand-building pottery methods to design, draw, stamp, and sculpt. Each student will create a pot, express their uniqueness, and tell their own story through their pottery. Students will explore pre-historic Native American artifacts and pottery tools.

Pinch Pots (Grades K-5): Create and design a pinch pot using basic methods of shaping and stamping.

Coiled Pots (Grades 6-8): Create a pinch pot and learn how to use the coil method. Designing methods include shaping, stamping, and drawing.

Pinch Pot with Coil Method (Grades 9-12): Create a pinch pot using the coil method. Designing methods include shaping, stamping, drawing, sculpting, and adding a collar.

New Songs for Future Generations-Workshop Series (Grades K-12)
Jennifer Stevens shares how her background as a classical singer, composer, and member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin has shaped her life. She will sing examples of opera, art songs, and her original classical contemporary music in the Oneida language. Workshops can include songwriting, performance, lyric writing.

Download Jennifer’s program descriptions flyer

Eliza Skenandore

Beadwork Artist and Oneida Culture Keeper

Eliza Painting an image of the Strawberry moon

Sharing traditional ways in a modern way

Artist: Eliza Skenandore 
Telephone: 920-403-0392

From corn husk dolls to raised beadwork, Eliza Skenandore is an artist who has been doing her traditional art since grade school. Eliza began teaching when she had an internship at the Oneida Nation Museum. After her internship, she worked for Oneida Cultural Heritage for 12 years as their Oneida Cultural Interpreter and then as their Historical Multi-media Specialist.

Here is a list of some of the presentations and workshops she offers. You may contact Eliza to create a program that fits your needs:

Corn Husk Dolls Presentation (Grades 3+, 45 minutes)
Presentation about the Oneida Nation and the three Sisters, (corn, beans, and squash) and the telling of the Corn Husk Doll story. Option to add-on making corn husk dolls. 

Ribbon Skirt Making (Grades 6+, 4 day Residency) (max 10 students)
Students create a ribbon skirt and learn about the traditional family roles of the Haudenosaunee.

Maple Tree Presentation (Grades 3+, 45 minutes) 
Students learn about the importance of the Maple Tree and the Thanksgiving Address. Activity to follow.

Raised Beadwork Workshop (Grades 6+, Full day workshop) (max 10 students)
This workshop teaches students how to make raised beaded strawberries.  Students will learn about the beadwork and materials use to make regalia.

Removal and Resettlement in Wisconsin (Grades 6+, 45 minutes)
Students will learn about how the Oneida Nation was removed from their homelands. They will learn about the Oneida Nation before they resettled in Wisconsin to the present day. Activity to follow.

Additional/Contact Info