Badgers well-represented in list of Wisconsin’s ‘Most Influential Native American Leaders’

UW–Madison alumni made up nearly one-third of the leaders recognized in Madison365’s “Most Influential Native American Leaders” in Wisconsin list for 2021.

A nonprofit online news publication, Madison365 has published annual power lists recognizing Wisconsin leaders from different racial and ethnic groups since 2015. The purpose of the lists is to “highlight the beauty of the diversity across our state” and lift up role models for Wisconsin’s young people, according to Henry Sanders, Jr., co-founder, publisher and chief executive officer of Madison365. This is the second year the publication has recognized Wisconsin’s Indigenous leaders.

“Every year, people tell me we’ll run out of people to recognize. And every year, after we publish our list, I get emails and texts with more names: why did you leave out this person, how did you miss that person. And every year it becomes clear: there are more people of every ethnicity in Wisconsin doing the real work than we could ever recognize,” Sanders said.

Congratulations to the Badger alumni below who received some well-deserved recognition this year. You can read the full post at Wisconsin’s 24 Most Influential Native American Leaders.

  • Gary Besaw (M.S. ’95), a member of the Menominee Nation Bear Clan and former tribal chair, is director of the Menominee Tribal Department of Agriculture and Food Systems and the Menominee Tribal Food Distribution Department. Besaw earned his master’s degree in education administration from UW–Madison and his bachelor’s from UW–Stout.
  • Dylan Bizhikiins Jennings (’13, M.S. ’21), a member of the Marten Clan who served two consecutive terms as an elected tribal council member for the Bad River Tribe, is currently a HEAL Earth Partnership doctoral fellow and previously was director of public information for the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. He earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology, archaeology, environmental studies, and American Indian studies from UW–Madison and his master’s degree from the UW Nelson Institute.
  • Sasānēhsaeh Jennings (’07, M.S. ’09), a member of the Menominee Nation, serves as the Native American Student Success Coordinator for the University of Wisconsin System. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and American Indian studies and master’s in educational leadership & policy analysis from UW–Madison.
  • Ron Jetty (Ph.D. ’98), a member of the Spirit Lake Dakota and Turtle Mountain Chippewa, is executive director of Information Technology Academy in the UW–Madison Division of Information Technology and assistant director of DoIT Academic Technology. He also serves on the Native Nations_UW Strategic Working Group, where he works to help increase the number of Native students prepared for and interested in attending UW campuses.
  • Christopher Kilgour (’13), is co-founder and manager of the Information Technology Academy‘s Tribal Technology Institute in the UW–Madison Division of Information Technology. He is responsible for curriculum design, tribal partnerships, student recruitment, event planning, and staff training. His earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology and certificates in American Indian studies and environmental studies from UW–Madison.
  • Edmund Manydeeds (LL.M. ’78), a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, is an Eau Claire attorney and serves as president of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. Currently serving his second term, Manydeeds is the first Native person to both serve on the Board of Regents and serve as board president. He received his bachelor’s degree from UW–Superior and he law degree from the UW–Madison Law School.
  • Angela Miller (M.S. ’10), is the chief of staff for internal operations; assistant chancellor of diversity, equity and inclusion; and chief diversity officer at UW–Platteville, where she has helped create and grow programs that foster inclusivity and provide access and support for underserved populations. She earned her master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis from the UW–Madison School of Education.