Faculty and Staff
Samantha Majhor (Dakota and Assiniboine) is an Assistant Professor of English specializing in Native American Literature at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She earned her B.A. degrees in English and Sociology from the University of Minnesota Duluth, M.A. in English from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, and PhD in English from the University of Minnesota. She serves as a faculty mentor for MU’s Indigeneity Lab, developing the Indian Boarding School History project that works to introduce and contextualize the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions records held in Marquette’s special collections and consulting on the cultural, spiritual, and historical considerations of the Wild Rice Revitalization project.
Bryan Rindfleisch is an associate professor of history, with specialization in early American and Native American history at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received his B.A. in both American Indian Studies and History at UW-Eau Claire and his Ph.D. in History at the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of two books, George Galphin’s Intimate Empire (2019) and Brothers of Coweta (2021). His projects with the Indigeneity Lab are an on-going digital mapping project — “Indigenizing Milwaukee” — and a walking and biking tour of Indigenous space and place of downtown Milwaukee, in collaboration with Historic Milwaukee Inc.
Dr. Michael Schläppi is a professor of Biological Sciences at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a specialization in Plant Molecular Biology and Genetics. He received his undergraduate diploma in molecular biology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and his Ph.D. in plant molecular biology at the Friedrich Miescher-Institute/Univ. of Basel, Switzerland. His name is on 42 scientific publications and two book chapters. His main project with the Indigeneity Lab is an initiative to (hopefully) reintroduce Manoomin, wild rice, in the Menomonee River Valley in the heart of Milwaukee. Several undergraduate students worked to determine the viability and sustainability of Northern wild rice, while others developed a more rooted understanding of the cultural, historical, political, and spiritual importance of wild rice to Wisconsin tribal nations.
Jacqueline Fontaine Schram (Ojibway, Sagkeeng First Nation) is currently working on her dissertation in the Educational Policy and Leadership (EDPL) program at Marquette University focusing on Indigenous college alumni oral histories, Jacqueline also serves the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Public Affairs full time as the Director of Public Affairs and Special Assistant for Native American Affairs. Part of her role at Marquette is to support the educational success of Indigenous students. Jacqueline is also the co-advisor of the Native American Student Association and helps staff the Indigeneity Lab – an interdisciplinary research hub that supports undergraduate research on topics that have significant implications for increased awareness and understanding of Indigenous history and culture in Milwaukee. In the Milwaukee Indian community, Jacqueline has devoted longtime volunteer service to Indian Summer Festivals (2006-2013), Spotted Eagle, Inc. (2011-2017), Forest County Potawatomi Foundation Advisory Board (2015-2018), and the Milwaukee Indian Education Committee (2013-Present).
Native American Mission and Boarding School Research
Madison Black is a junior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Writing Intensive English at Marquette University. Her Lab research is focused on the Native American Mission & Boarding School Archives. Beyond the Indigeneity Lab, Madison is a Ronald. E. McNair Scholar, member of the Native American Student Association (NASA), and serves on the Counseling Center Advisory Board. Madison is passionate about mental health in the Native American community and aspires to become a clinical psychologist.
Julia Solberg is a senior double majoring in International Affairs and Spanish Literature, Language and Culture at Marquette University. Her lab research is focused on the Native American Mission & Boarding School Archives. Outside of her work in the lab, Julia is a member of the Native American Student Association (NASA) and the President of the Marquette Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team. Julia hopes to find the right path after college where she can work with the community domestically, internationally, or work in public policy.
Alex Gambacorta is pursuing an MA in English at Marquette University, prior to which she earned her BA at Marquette in Social Welfare & Justice and Writing Intensive English. Her Indigeneity Lab research is focused on the Native American Mission & Boarding School Archives. Additionally, Alex is a Teaching Assistant for the Education Preparedness Program (EPP) at the Center for Urban Research, Teaching & Outreach. She is a member of Marquette’s chapter of The Community, a nonprofit that addresses the effects of the criminal legal system through Pre-entry and Correcting the Narrative, and a facilitator for Narrative 4, an organization that uses a story exchange model to cultivate radical empathy while empowering students to improve their communities and their world.
Ayodele (Ayo) Ibiyemi is a graduate student in the department of English at Marquette University. His work with the Indigeneity Lab will include a public-facing exhibition and continued research around Native American Mission and Boarding Schools. He worked as a journalist and in the Not-for-Profit sector in Nigeria before coming to the United States of America. He is currently researching the textual interactions and contestations between Africans and the African Diaspora in the United States of America.
Indigenous Wild Rice Project
Danielle Barrett is a senior majoring Psychology and Biological Sciences at Marquette University. Danielle is woking with the Lab on the Wild Rice Project under the direction of Dr. Michael Schlappi. Last summer, she researched the cultural and historical importance of Wild Rice to gain an understanding and respect for the grain. With the knowledge she gained last summer, she will be working on the science portion of this project–focused on genotyping the rice and attempting to grow the rice in a garden outside the lab. All results have been promising thus far! Additionally, she is the President of the Native American Student Association (NASA), a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc., the Emerging Scholars Program, and recreational volleyball.
Miriam Schwabe is a senior majoring in Environmental Studies at Marquette University. This summer she was a part of the student research cohort working on the Wild Rice Project, genotyping wild rice samples from around Wisconsin, under the direction of Dr. Michael Schlappi. She is the president of Marquette’s environmental club and loves talking about sustainability on and off campus. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, backpacking, and exploring Milwaukee with friends.
Indigenizing Milwaukee Mapping Project
Clare Camblin is an undergraduate student pursing a BA in Digital Media with minors in Marketing and Psychology. She is a member of the Osage Nation Eagle Clan, which inspires her passion for Native studies and topics, to feel more connected to her roots. Her project with the Indigeneity Lab includes an interactive data visualization map affirming an indigenous presence in Milwaukee, as well as an interactive Biking & Walking Tour that explores the gap between historical and present-day indigenous Milwaukee.
Marshall Kopacki is a Sophomore majoring in Anthropology and Theology. His personal interests are in liberation theologies and ethnography. Marshall is working with Dr. Bryan Rindfleisch on updating and maintaining the digital mapping project.
Past Cohort Members
We wish to acknowledge and give thanks to the inaugural Indigeneity Lab cohort whose research, writing, and initiative, have allowed for its continual growth:
Mission and Boarding School Research:
- Bailey Birenbaum
- Rebecca DeBoer
Indigenize Milwaukee Mapping Project:
- Cameron Fronczak
Wild Rice Initiative:
- Will Egan Waukau
- Sir Lawrence Tender
- Alex Liberato