Home Local News Wisconsin’s 38 Most Influential Native Americans, Part 5

Wisconsin’s 38 Most Influential Native Americans, Part 5


This is the fifth of a five-part series. Part 4 is available here.

Daniel Brown is the Executive Manager of Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison, a position he began in 2012. Brown earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Ball State University in 1990.  In late 1993, he moved his family to Wisconsin where he began his career in the casino industry at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells with his tribe, the Ho-Chunk Nation. After beginning in Surveillance, Daniel eventually became the Director of Casino Operations; Assistant General Manager; and finally the General Manager, where he managed the Nation’s flagship casino for four years. From 2007-2011, Daniel served as the vice president of the Ho-Chunk Nation. As Executive Manager of Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison, Daniel is endeavoring to develop 40-plus acres near the casino in collaboration with the City of Madison.

Rebecca Comfort is the American Indian Nations Liaison with the Wisconsin Historical Society, where she develops, strengthens, and maintains relationships with the 12 American Indian nations of Wisconsin, including tribal councils and other elected representatives.A member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, Comfort also develops ongoing relationships with Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs), tribal libraries, museums, and education offices and leads and serves on internal Wisconsin Historical Society teams that work directly with relationships and projects involving American Indian nations.

Dr. Amy DeLong is a family physician and Ho-Chunk tribal member who has worked at the Ho-Chunk Nation House of Wellness Clinic for 13 years. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Michigan, completed medical school at the University of Minnesota and completed her training in family medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. She earned her Master’s in Public Health in the maternal-child health track while completing an adolescent health fellowship through the University Of Minnesota Department Of Pediatrics. Her passions include public health efforts to prevent chronic disease like obesity, especially in childhood, promoting healthy pregnancy outcomes, reducing health disparities by diversifying the workforce, and being outdoors with her family.

Ernie Stevens Jr. is the chairman and national spokesperson of the National Indian Gaming Association. A member of the Oneida Nation, he iis currently in his ninth two-year term as the chairman. During his time, he has worked to educate Congress, the media and the public about the benefits of Indian gaming on tribal and nearby communities. He has also worked to protect Tribal Sovereignty and strengthen the Indian gaming industry. Stevens received an Associate’s degree from Haskell Indian National University and went on to also earn a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Mount Scenario College.

Ryan Greendeer currently serves as the Public Relations Officer of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Greendeer previously served as a policy consultant for tribal governments and agencies. Prior to that, he built and maintained connections between tribes and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as a Tribal Liaison. Greendeer’s position at the Department of Transportation placed him as the primary contact for tribal elected officials, regional tribal liaisons, and the Great Lakes Intertribal Council. Greendeer served in the U.S. Army for over eight years before earning a degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

Peter LaBlanc is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Native American Tourism of Wisconsin (NATOW), an inter-tribal consortium that launched as a statewide initiative in 1994 by the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council. The mission of NATOW is to promote tourism featuring Native American heritage and culture, allowing tribes to diversify their economies while telling the true story concerning their history and culture. LaBlanc also serves as a Tribal Liaison Director at St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. 

Laura Laitinen-Warren is a Senior Policy Adviser for the Chairman’s Office of the Oneida Nation. In this role, she provides the Tribal Chair with governmental policy advice and recommendations on matters relating to Oneida Tribal government affairs. Laitinen-Warren has over 25 years of experience working in Indian Country in a variety of leadership positions in Oneida Casino’s gaming industry as well as human resources. She was also invited to participate and moderate the Women of Excellence panel for 2019’s Wisconsin Leadership Summit. Laitinen-Warren has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and an Educational Specialist Certification from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she is completing her dissertation exploring the identity formation and lived experiences of multiracial leaders.

Dr. Jolene Bowman is Director of Education and Career Services for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, a position in which she’s served since 2006. She also serves in the Wisconsin Indian Education Association representing the Central Region and the Wisconsin Tribal Education Directors Association. She was Stockbridge-Munsee Vice President from 2015 to 2017, and president of the National Indian Education Association in 2018. She holds a Doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education from Cardinal Stritch.

Who did we miss? If you’d like to nominate someone for next year’s list, please email news@madison365.org.