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Bardwell, Belinda (Interviewer)

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Wheeler, James Wagner "Wag"

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2015-04-23

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James Wagner "Wag" Wheeler was born in eastern Oklahoma to Cherokee parents in 1935. In his life in Salisaw, Oklahoma, Wheeler worked as an accountant and administrator until becoming the Executive Director of Oklahoma Indian Opportunity. After the organization lost its funding, he moved to Michigan to pursue a masters degree in public administration from the University of Michigan. There, he co-founded the Native American Student Association of UM, and was recruited to be the Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Inter-Tribal Counter and became a major contributor to local Native American social services for 18 years. He served as the CEO of Grand Traverse Band of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians for two years. In this interview, he discusses his life and experiences as a community leader trying to reinvigorate Native cultural traditions in Grand Rapids community.

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Gi-gikinomaage-min Project



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