Meet the Team

Michelle Schulte, M.A.

Project Director/Educator
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

Gordon Henry is an enrolled member of the White Earth Anishinaabe Nation in Minnesota.
Dr. Henry is also a Professor in the English Department at Michigan State University, where he teaches American Indian Literature, Creative Writing and the Creative Process, in Integrative Arts and Humanities.
He serves as Senior Editor of the American Indian Studies Series (and the series sub-imprint Mukwa Enewed) at Michigan State University Press. Under his editorship the AISS has published research and creative work by an array of scholars, working in a variety of disciplines, related to the larger field of American Indian Studies.
Five years ago, while serving as Director of the Native American Institute at Michigan State, he founded, along with Ellen Cushman, the Native American Youth Film Institute. As an offshoot of that project Professor Henry is working with the NAI and the Michigan Inter-Tribal Council, on Indigistory, a community based digital storytelling project.
Gordon is also a published poet and fiction writer. In 1995 he received an American Book Award for his novel the Light People and his poetry, fiction and essays have been published extensively, in the U.S. and Europe.
Over twenty years ago, Francis Cree and Louis Cree from Turtle Mountain, North Dakota asked Gordon to work as an oshkaabewis, or helper, for the Niibaagway shimowin and other Anishinaabe ceremonies. He has participated in, and assisted with, those ceremonial practices for over thirty years.

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.

Nathan Lambertson, M.S.

Nathan Lambertson is a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and presently serves as the Dean of Students at the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College. His areas of interest include American Indian Elder’s Issues, equity in education and organizational spirituality.

Adam Haviland, Ph.D.

Adam HaviIand received a PhD. In Anthropology from Michigan State University in the fall of 2017. He also earned an M.A. in Anthropology and an M.A. in American Studies from MSU, and completed his undergraduate studies at CMU earning a B.S. in Biology with a Minor in American Indian Studies. Adam’s graduate course work and dissertation focused on language revitalization, Indigenous education and the history of urban areas as Indigenous spaces. He teaches courses in Native American Studies at Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College that focus on Anishinaabe History, Indigenous law and Policy, and Contemporary Native American Issues. One of his personal and scholarly passions is learning and revitalizing Anishinaabemowin. His other scholarly interests include Indigenous knowledge, urban Indigenous migrations and Indigenous storytelling.

Nina Knight, M.A.

Nina Knight is a two time recipient of the American Indian College Fund Teacher of the Year Award and a recipient of the 2018 Delta College Humanities Educator of the Year Award. In addition, she has been awarded a Tribal College Faculty Research Grant, a Delta College Adjunct Faculty Grant, and she was the 2013 recipient of the 4C’s Travel Grant sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English.

Monica Williamson

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 Milburn

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.

Rashad Muhammad

Rashad Muhammad, Instructional Designer at 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

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.