Marin Webster Denning, Naadawe Banaise • Naame n'dodeym

Artist: Marin Webster Denning, Naadawe Banaise • Naame n'dodeym (Sturgeon Clan)
Email: waepeta@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.markdenning.com/

About the Educator
Marin Webster Denning was born on the Menominee reservation and is enrolled in the Mark Denning headshot Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. His Anishinaabe name is Naadawe Banaise and he is Sturgeon Clan. His ancestry includes Menominee, Mille Lacs Ojibwe, Lanape, Delaware and Mohican, French and English.

Marin served as the Executive Director of Southeastern Oneida Tribal Services. He is nationally recognized as a leading educator, lecturer and curriculum specialist in American Indian history and culture. Marin served on the board of directors at Milwaukee’s Indian Community School, now celebrating 50 years of American Indian education. He also served as an advisor on the Gates Millennium Educational Foundation and is a board member of Indian Summer Festival. He is a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee – in the school of education and serves as a consultant and trainer with Boeing Corporation.Mark Denning at pow-wow

Marin was honored as an inductee to the Wisconsin Pow Wow Hall of Fame through the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2019. He is a men’s traditional dancer, pow wow emcee, gifted public speaker and knowledge keeper of our traditional ways.

Current Programs Offered

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.

Student Ledger Art & Poetry Sample:

student ledger art student poetry on catcher in rye page


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.

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