Board of Directors

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John Besaw

President

I am an enrolled member of the Brothertown Indian Nation and descendant of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin. I was born at home in Morgan Siding, Wisconsin. My early years were spent hunting and fishing. I enlisted in the Army in 1967 and spent 24 great years as a soldier. I served as an Infantryman in Vietnam 1969 – 1971. I retired from the military in 1991 and went back to school. My educational background includes a BA from the University of WI; MA from USC; and PhD from the University of Washington. Post Doctoral work focuses on Organizational Leadership and Change Management. Faculty appointments include University of Washington and Chapman University. My wife, youngest daughter and I live in Washington state and my oldest daughter and grandkids live in Cambridge, MA.

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Gabriel Kastelle

Vice-President

I am non-Tribal, yet the more I learn the more I find connections between my own musical and worship life and Brothertown founder and descendent achievements, and the more I find that I have had an uncanny way of walking with my little feet (and paddling kayak or rolling bicycle wheels!) in exactly some places of earliest Brothertown roots. I am a freelance musician, performing most often on violin and viola and with tenor voice, and mixing in musicology, composition, and music-editing/parts-library-curating as well. I’m also a shape note singer for decades on tenor, bass, or treble parts, as needed, and I was one of the co-founders in 1999 of the proudly on-going annual Keystone Convention of Sacred Harp Singing in SE Pennsylvania. Previous Board experiences include a year with "OSCA" (the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, a half-million dollar per year cash flow student housing and dining organization), three years as a musician-member of the Board of the Eastern CT Symphony in New London, CT, where I am a tenured violinist, and a year on the Executive Board of the musicians union for that area, AFofM 285-403.

Virginia Stark

Virginia Stark

Treasurer

I was born in Racine, Wisconsin in 1943 and am the 5th of 9 children.  I graduated from Dominican College with a degree in Mathematics.  I taught math for a time before starting work at JCPenney’s.  In 2002, after 24 years, I retired from Penneys.  I worked at H&R Block for 21 years before retiring from there in 2019.  I’ve been married to Robert Stark for over 50 years.  We live in Illinois and have 4 adult children and 9 grandchildren.

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Amy Besaw Medford

Secretary

Amy Besaw Medford is a Research Affiliate of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and an Analyst for the Taylor Policy Group. Previously, Amy was the Director of Program Development and Director of Honoring Nations at the Harvard Project, as well as the Manager of Program Development at the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy at the Udall Center for Studies in Social Policy at the University of Arizona. 


Amy received her BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington, MA in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University, and EdM in Human Development and Psychology from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. She is enrolled in the Brothertown Indian Nation and descendant of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and their two children.

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Janet Dangler

Board Member

I was born on August 7, 1946, in Paterson, New Jersey. In 1947 I moved with my parents and sister to Deansboro, New York to a home on what I discovered later was located on parts of lots 21 and 22 of the Brothertown tract of 1795, embodied in "The Act relative to Lands in Brothertown." In 1974, upon my father's death, my husband and I bought the house in which I grew up - the one on the Brothertown lots. In 1985, I went to work for Oneida-Herkimer-Madison (counties) Board of Cooperative Educational Services and retired in 2014. My interest in the Brothertown Indians was sparked in the 1990s when a busload of Brothertown Indians came to Deansboro in 1999, attended a church service in our Congregational Church (with a Presbyterian minister conducting the service), visited the gravesites of their ancestors, and broke bread with us that evening. My interest was nurtured by former Town of Marshall Historian Dorothy McConnell and former Town of Sangerfield Historian Phillipa Brown, both of whom had a keen interest in the history of the Brothertown Indians and were eager to share it. In 2015, I succeeded Dorothy McConnell, who has since passed away, as Town of Marshall Historian. I have done a lot of reading about the Brothertown Indians which I found fascinating, and have been fortunate to speak to several groups about their history and relevance today. On a personal note, my husband and I have three children and four grandchildren.

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Bradley Dubos

Board Member

Bradley Dubos is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at Northwestern University. He researches American poetry, religion, and placemaking during periods of revival. Part of his dissertation work focuses on the Brothertown Indian Nation's hymnody, particularly the ways that hymn singing practices have shaped Brothertown spaces in New York, Wisconsin, and beyond. Beginning in 2019, his research connected him with various Brothertown citizens and friends, and he has since maintained interest in the ongoing and newly developing shape note singing within the tribe.


Brad has been supported by fellowships from Northwestern's Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (2018-19) as well as the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities (2019-20). Originally from Northeast Ohio, he received his B.S.E. in Integrated Language Arts at Youngstown State University. He currently lives in Chicago.

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Courtney (Cottrell) Gerzetich

Board Member

Courtney Cottrell is a cultural anthropologist and focuses her research on museum representations about Native North America. Her interests stem from her own background as a citizen of the Brothertown Indian Nation as well as her career as a museum professional. Dr. Cottrell is also interested in the federal recognition process for Native tribes in the U.S., specifically issues surrounding sovereignty’s authority over intellectual property and repatriations. Her activist work as a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer has been written about and published, as well as her work on bringing voice to Native artists in the museum world.

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Robin Rivas

Board Member

Dr. Robin Rivas is a Language Acquisition Consultant in CESA 2 with the Language and Culture Center of Excellence. Robin has been working with and advocating for English Language Learners for over 35 years. She has teaching experience working with K-12th grade ELL students as an ESL specialist in Milwaukee Public Schools and administrative experience as both a curriculum specialist and a Bilingual/ELL/WL Program Director. She has served on state and national committees, currently co-chairing the Wisconsin DPI ELD Standards Adoption Committee. Robin has extensive background and training in curriculum development, assessment, teacher training, EL programs, and district compliance. In addition to working with schools and districts, she has worked in the teacher education program at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, CESA 2 CLASS Program, and as a consultant to public and private schools and districts.

After receiving her BS in education from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, Robin attained an MS in Urban Education from UW-M and EdD in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University with a research focus on RTI and English Language Learners. She is an enrolled member of the Brothertown Indian Nation, family lineage through her third great grandfather, Simeon Shelley (Brothertown, Pequot).

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Cheryl “Cheri” Welch

Board Member

Cheryl (Cheri) Welch is an enrolled member of the Brothertown Indian Nation residing in Fond du Lac, WI. She served on the Election Committee for several years, volunteered on the Picnic and Homecoming Committees, represented the tribe at the annual Celebrate Community Event in Fond du Lac, contributed several articles to the Brothertown Newsletter and did some limited volunteer work under the ANA Grant. She is also participating in the Brothertown Book Club.

Cheri earned a BA Degree in Spanish and Education, attending schools in both Mexico and Spain.  She was employed for over 30 years as a Social Worker at the Fond du Lac County Department of Social Services where she worked in many capacities. Prior to retirement, she provided services to the adult and elderly population, co-leading an Elder Abuse and Neglect Interdisciplinary Team.

In retirement, Cheri enjoys gardening (she completed the Master Gardener Certification), travel, reading, music, swimming and other forms of exercise.  She is also involved in many church activities. Cheri is a widow with an adult son and daughter.

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Richard Williams

Board Member

Remnants of seven tribes from Long Island and Connecticut called Brothertown Indians settled in the southern part of Richard's home town, Kirkland, named after a missionary to the Oneida Indians, Samuel Kirkland. With a keen interest in his community, Richard has researched, wrote, and presented about the Brothertown Indians to understand why and when they came and why they left. It is a sad story, but he salutes the Brothertowns for persevering through the years of removal, settlement, and then removal again to land in Wisconsin. Richard has written or edited six books on local history and have contributed numerous articles on local history to the Waterville Times and the Clinton Courier since the early 1970s.

After attending Syracuse University where he was a history major and active in the marching band, Richard went to SUNY at Albany, New York for a master’s degree in social studies education. After Army service for two years he taught history in two area high schools and was vice-principal for 15 years retiring in 1995. Since then Richard has been very active in the Clinton Historical Society and the Oneida County History Center in Utica volunteering many times over the years. He served ten years as mayor of Clinton, NY in the town of Kirkland.

Richard's service to the Calumet Society will center around burial grounds in the neighboring town of Marshall. The tribe has expressed interest in cleaning up and preserving the Brothertown burial grounds which is truly a worthy chore for any historian. A widower, Richard lives in a neighboring town of New Hartford which is a suburb of Utica, NY. 

 

       IN MEMORIAM

 
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Mark Baldwin

Founding President

Mark Baldwin passed away in April 2021. He began researching his Brothertown tribal heritage in the late 1970s and was part of the nascent tribal reorganizational efforts that began in Gresham, Wisconsin in 1979. Mark initiated and edited the first tribal newsletter “The Brothertown Messenger,” served on the tribal Council and as Vice Chairman of the tribe. Beginning in 1980, he served as a grant writer securing funds from the Administration for Native Americans to support the tribe’s federal acknowledgement petition and other social and economic development projects. Mark’s passion, dedication, and diligence brought life to so many efforts to better the lives of Brothertown Indians and the Brothertown Indian Nation.


Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management. He had 40+ years of experience in communications, fundraising and community development working for a variety of nonprofit organizations in Wisconsin and California.  Mark was a direct descendant of Samson Occom and Mary Fowler through their daughter Christiana.