Meet the Team
Michelle Schulte, M.A.
Believing that anything is possible is a mantra that has motivated Michelle in every aspect of her life. She knows there is more than one way to accomplish anything and prefers the role of facilitator or coach versus the traditional teacher. Michelle is of mixed ancestry and member of Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewas. She is a life-long learner having earned degrees in education, sports, and Anishinaabe language (AAS, BS, BA, & MA). A large part of her career has been developing programs (inception-implementation-evaluation). Michelle’s efforts as a Project Director at Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan include work with Tribal Communities in Michigan to increase collective impact in early childhood systems and food access requiring strong communication and awareness.
Gordon Henry, Ph.D.
An Anishinabe poet and novelist, Dr. Gordon Henry, Jr. is an enrolled member of the White Earth Chippewa Tribe of Minnesota. His poetry has been published in anthologies such as Songs From This Earth On Turtle's Back: Contemporary American Indian Poetry (1983) and Returning the Gift: Poetry and Prose from the First Native American Writers(1994). His novel The Light People (1994) was awarded The American Book Award in 1995. He has also co-authored the textbook The Ojibway (2004), to which he contributed a number of essays on Native American culture. Currently, Henry serves as the director of the creative writing program. He teaches courses in American literature, creative writing, and American Indian literature.
John Norder, Ph.D.
Dr. John Norder is an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Dakota Tribe and descendant of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan in Anthropology, with a focus on ethnohistory, archaeology, and community-based research. His current and ongoing research has focused on the ways in which traditional Indigenous knowledge is used as a tool of mediation between issues of historical and contemporary identity, landscape, cultural and natural resource heritages, and economic development in the context of community and state level policy issues. Recent work as part of his work as Director of the Native American Institute has focused on issues of community forestry, agribusiness development, traditional natural resource studies, community behavioral health, documentation of community stories through digital storytelling, issues regarding counterfeit production of American Indian arts and crafts, assessment of tribal and Native American organizational programs, and ongoing work on American Indian heritage issues related to NAGPRA and community cultural programs.
Christie M. Poitra, Ph.D.
Dr. Christie M. Poitra (Latinx and Turtle Mountain) is the Assistant Director of the Michigan State University (MSU) Native American Institute, and Affiliate Faculty in MSU American Indian & Indigenous Studies and MSU Bio/Computational Evolution in Action Consortium. She is a scholar of K-12 Indigenous education policy and practice. Dr. Poitra’s research and service interests are defined by three interrelated ideas. Firstly, how current state, federal, district and tribal policy contexts affect Indigenous education experiences in K-12 schools (i.e., reservation and reservation-adjacent schools). Her second area of inquiry looks at the efforts of institutional partnerships (i.e., tribal governments, tribal colleges, universities, and K-12 schools) to Indigenize K-12 curriculum, practice and instructional leadership. Lastly, how tribal governments respond to shifting political climates through educational policy development and implementation.
Rashad Muhammad, Instructional Designerat Michigan State University, has over 17 years of developing and delivering high quality learning and technical solutions. He received his Bachelors in Telecommunication and Masters in Educational Technology from Michigan State University. He has been involved in several large implementation projects, facilitated workshops with community organizations, academic institutions, and was responsible for software training coordination on Michigan State University’s largest training implementation to date. As Instructional Designer with MSU’s Academic Technologies department, he spends his time researching, developing and delivering innovative technical solutions to enhance faculty courses and research projects.
Ed Schools has approximately 20 years of experience with GIS, mapping, and spatial analysis. He has worked on projects as diverse as creating evidence for a Federal wetland filling case to using weather radar data to determine migratory bird hotspots. Recent interests include incorporating GIS into the digital humanities. Ed has recently retired from the MSU Extension where he served for 17 years as the Michigan Natural Features Inventory GIS/IT supervisor. In retirement Ed has continued teaching GIS courses at Lansing Community College, co-taught a course for the MSU English Department, and performs GIS volunteer work for non-profit organizations.
Monica Williamson is an intern for the Indigistory project. She is a graduate of Michigan State University with a BA in Anthropology and minor in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. She believes that we have responsibilities to our community, speaking up is important, and accumulated knowledge from a variety of perspectives is essential.
Jared graduated from Michigan State University, studying Media Arts and technology with a concentration of TV, Cinema and Radio and a minor degree in Theater. He went on to work on films such as; Batman v. Superman, Transformers 5, Men of Sparta, Hmong Memory at the Crossroads, The Evolution of Bert and a few other award winning projects. Jared’s main hope is to live up to his potential, continuously create what he loves, make a positive imprint on the world. To truly affect people through art (film and music) and inspire their minds and energies. Most importantly, Jared wants to give back, support, build communities, and create more and more opportunities for people to live out their potentials—just as he was given and continues to receive in his life.
Nina Knight has a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Texas-Pan American. Her research focused on Young Adult anti-bullying Literature and the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) which has been published in books and journals across the United States. She is currently serving as a full-time English faculty member at the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College where she continues to help students create positive relationships through books and service-learning.
Indigistory is a collaborative partnership between the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, Michigan State University Native American Institute, the Michigan History Center, Michigan State University Hub for Innovation Learning and Technology, Michigan State University English Department and the Michigan State University College of Arts and Letters.
Indigistory has worked alongside the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, Bay Mills Indian Community, and Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. We are always seeking communities interested in sharing digital storytelling. If you’re interested in getting involved, get in touch.