Dates: July 21st – July 23rd

Join us at Cantigny Park in at 1s151 Winfield Road in Wheaton, IL for a weekend of healing and learning. Veterans families, children, and general public are all welcome to learn and hear the ‘Untold Stories’. If you are a veteran, you must register for the event at this link or in person on the day of to get your wristband. Wristbands allow access to free special meals and beverages. Want to support the effort to bring Code Talkers to the event this year? Donate towards their travel expenses here.


Hilton Lisle/Naperville
3003 Corporate West Drive, Lisle, Il, 60532
Hotel (630) 505-0900, Direct (630) 245-7644
$99 rates, $89 for veterans. Scheduled transportation is provided to/from the event.

Rough camping at Cantigny is available for veterans only.


Thursday, July 20th
There will be a special event for veterans on this date who have come in early. Veterans are welcome to join us in the evening at a suite in Boomer’s stadium to watch the baseball game and throw the first pitch.

Friday, July 21st
For veterans and their immediate families, there will be a free traditional dinner served at Cantigny park. There will be a key speakers during dinner and dessert. If you would like to attend, you must RSVP by June 30th while completing the registry form. Attire will be informal.
5:00pm: Guests arrive and live music is played
6:00pm: Traditional meal is served
Speakers attending will say a few words to set the tone for discussion Saturday and Sunday

Saturday, July 22nd
8:30am: Roll call for veterans, preparation for the Formal Grand Entry of the flags
9:00am – 10:30am: Formal Grand Entry and opening remarks
10:30am: Town Hall meeting/discussion
11am: Free hot dogs for registered veterans with wristbands
11:30am – 2:30pm: Town Hall break-out meetings into specific topics
2:30pm: Group reconevne and report out
4pm: Code Talkers share
5:30pm: Live music, dinner for those with wristbands (veterans, their immediate families, and special guests)
7pm – 8:30pm: Entertainment

Sunday, July 23rd
8am: Breakfast for registered veterans
9am: Formal Grand Entry, opening remarks
9:30am – 11am: Continued Town Hall discussions from previous day
11am: Report out on key findings and needs
12pm: Closing/retiring of the colors, travel songs
Everyone is invited back to Trickster Gallery for an hour after the event

Stay tuned for more information.

Speakers and Honored Guests Include:

Saginaw Grant

Native Korean War Veteran, Actor

Saginaw is a respected member of the Sac-n-Fox, Iowa and Otoe-Missouria Nations. In 1936, Saginaw Morgan Grant was born to Sarah and Austin Grant Sr. at Pawnee Indian Hospital in Pawnee, Oklahoma. He was raised on a farm in Cushing, Oklahoma with two brothers and one sister.

Dan King

President of Wisconsin Indian Veterans Association, National Congress of American Indians

Juanita Mullen

Liaison for AI/AN Veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs

Charles Norman Shay

Penobscot Tribal Elder, Writer & Decorated Veteran of World War II and the Korean War

Charles Norman Shay is a tribal elder in the Penobscot Indian Nation and a combat veteran of several wars. Born on 27 June 1924 in Bristol, Connecticut, he is the eighth of nine children of Leo Shay and Florence Nicolar, daughter of Joseph Nicolar, author of the 1893 classic book Life and Traditions of the Red Man.

In April 1943, almost a year after graduation from Old Town High School, Charles was drafted into the US Army and trained as combat medic. After frontline duty in the battles of Aachen, Huertgen Forest, Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge) and the Rhine (near Remagen), He was captured in the Sieg Valley, spending nearly a month in German prison camps. Shay was liberated on 18 April. In 1950, he was assigned to the Medical Company of the 3rd Infantry Division’s 7th Regiment, which was sent to Japan when the Korean War broke out. Promoted to Master Sergeant, Shay received the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters for Valor and was nominated for a second Silver Star. Read More

Six months after his honorable discharge from the US Army, Shay joined the US Air Force Reserve in February 1952 and a year later became an active-duty Master Sergeant. Shay’s last active duty military position was at the US Air Force hospital at Sembach, the Cold War airbase for the Tactical Missile Wing in Germany.

At age 60, after 20 years with the IAEA, Shay retired from that United Nations (UN) agency. Since then, he has dedicated himself to preserving and promoting Penobscot cultural heritage. In addition to running a small museum in his tipi, he has also published booklets by and about Penobscots, and facilitated in the publication of a new edition of his grandfather’s book, Life and Traditions of the Red Man (Duke University Press, with a Preface by Shay).

On 6 November 2007, the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, personally awarded him the prestigious medal distinguishing this Penobscot Indian combat veteran of Omaha Beach as a Chevalier in the Légion d’Honneur.

Lt. Colonel Jon Sowards

U.S. Army, Central Region Director, Soldier for Life Program

Entertainers Include:

*Additional entertainer information to come

Mark ClevelandMark Cleveland

Mark Cleveland provides a unique entertainment experience. Audiences respond to the storytelling lyrics, uniquely delivered in songs woven from the Native American tradition, World Culture and contemporary American Life. Audiences return to experience full powered vocal presence of this accomplished Singer Songwriter and World Musician.

Performing for the Dali Lama and in other international events, Mark Cleveland is a repeat performer at the World Music Festival, Millennium Park, Navy Pier and in major Chicago venues like the Old Town School or Shuba’s. Accomplishments include composing the soundtrack for the Field Museum’s Ancient Americas exhibit, recording with Yo Yo Ma’s Cross Roads project, sharing the stage with Golden Globe and NAMA Award Winner Bill Miller and Wade Fernandez on tour. His music has been featured on Chicago and U.S. media, and internationally on Web Streaming Radio.return home.

Wade Fernandez

“Your life is all that you’ve touched, all that has touched you and all that came before you. You only really live it when you learn to listen to its music.” WF

Born on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin, USA. Wade grew up in a house surrounded by dense forest. “I could walk through the trees for maybe 6 miles behind the house and not see another human being. After crossing the road in front of the house, I could probably walk another 10 miles and once again, see only forest and animals.” The Menominee Reservation is over 95% forest and the roots of Wade’s inspiration.

Wade’s first attempt at playing music came at the age of 5. His dad sat him down in front of a record player, handed over a “huge” acoustic guitar and said try to figure out this song. It was “Apache” by the Shadows. Young Wade thought cool an Indian song, but after 10 minutes of having no clue, he decided to give it up. But then at 11 years old, Wade decided to pick up the guitar and started a band on the rez with his cousin Quint. Since then he has won several national/international awards and scholarships for music and other forms of artistic expression (including video and writing). Wade toured Europe several times, played and produced CDs, and played many styles of music before he decided to go to college and further his study of music. Currently, Wade has a degree in Music Education with a teacher’s certification, manages an active music career, works a GEAR UP job for students on the Menominee Indian Reservation, is a member of the Menominee Indian School Board, working on several film projects, writing a play, teaches native flute/guitar/bass/rock band classes, and is raising a beautiful family of 5 children with his wife on the reservation.

Kevin Locke

Kevin Locke (Tokeya Inajin is his Lakota name, meaning “The First to Arise”) is known throughout the world as a visionary Hoop Dancer, the preeminent player of the indigenous Northern Plains flute, a traditional storyteller, cultural ambassador, recording artist and educator. Kevin Locke’s concerts and presentations (please see live performances schedule) at performing arts centers, festivals, schools, universities, conferences, state and national parks, monuments and historic sites, powwows and reservations number in the hundreds annually.

Dawn O’Keefe Williams & Three Off the Leash

Dawn O’Keefe Williams, a diversified singer, will rock your blues away! Her style of music is universal, and has been recognized by Billboard with an Award of Achievement for her original song STONE COLD FOOL. Dawn mixes her blues with Rock, R&B, Jazz, Pop and Reggae in her performances. Her style of music sounds like “Bonnie Raitt meets Etta James”; yet Dawn has a distinctive sound all her own from sultry velvety tones to belting it out with an incredibly powerful voice.

When it comes to entertaining Dawn has only the best well-seasoned musicians backing her. As Entertainment Plus Agency stated… “Your vocal style, the music you selected and your band arrangements were perfect for our diverse audience of all ages.” You will find Dawn at some of the finest venues in the Chicagoland area such as Navy Pier, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Blues Festival, Taste of Chicago, festivals and more. Dawn’s self-titled CD has received airplay on several major markets in the U.S., as well as in Europe.

Sponsors Include:

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.​

Cantigny Park

Cantigny is a 500-acre park in Wheaton, Illinois, 30 miles west of Chicago. It is the former estate of Joseph Medill and his grandson Colonel Robert R. McCormick and is open to the public.

Comcast/NBC Universal

NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.

Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks Charities supports programs and institutions throughout Illinois that work towards creating a better tomorrow.


Dryhootch is a nonprofit 501c3 organization formed by combat Veterans to help Veterans in their return home.

First Division Museum

The First Division Museum has been a part of Cantigny Park and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation since 1960. The original museum was housed in what is now the Cantigny Park Visitors Center.

First Nations Women Warriors

First Nations Women Warriors is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They are a group of professional Native Women Veterans who are focused on helping Veterans through guidance and resources.

Four Winds Casinos

Four Winds Casinos are entertainment venues all owned and operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.

Gun Lake Tribe

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) is part of the historic Three Fires Confederacy, an alliance of the Pottawatomi (Bodewadmi), Ottawa (Odawa), and Chippewa (Ojibwe).

Helix Camera & Video

Photography shop stocking a wide array of high-end cameras & gear for beginning & advanced shooters. They have a space available for photography classes, workshops, new product demonstrations, and more.

Inter-Tribal Council of AT&T Employees

This group has made a cultural development arena which helps with career advancement and education, and encourages a better understanding of all employees, more specifically Native Americans.


KeyBank is an American regional bank headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. They have 160+ years of doing work that matters for their clients, communities and employees by building enduring relationships.

Mohegan Sun Casino

Mohegan Sun, created in 1996 by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, features some of New England’s finest dining, hotel accommodations, retail shopping, live entertainment and sporting events.

Pala Band of Mission Indians

The 12,273-acre reservation is located in northern San Diego County, established for Cupeño and Luiseño Indians, who consider themselves to be one proud people — Pala.


PepsiCo is one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies. Their food and beverage portfolio includes 22 brands, and their products are sold in over 200 countries and territories.

PepsiCo RISE

RISE is PepsiCo’s Native American Employee Resource Group.


VALOR recognizes, appreciates and supports PepsiCo’s veterans, military members, their families, and the communities in which they live and work.

PNC Bank

PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. is a Pittsburgh-based financial services corporation. For 160+ years, they have been committed to providing their clients with great service and powerful financial expertise.

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi

Pokagon citizens have long sustained their culture and connection to their homeland; numerous place-names in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan continually reflect that connection.

Robert R. McCormick Foundation

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is part of the legacy of Col. Robert R. McCormick, the long-time editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune.

Trickster Art Gallery

Trickster Gallery was established on March 5, 2005 to create a unique contemporary view of Native arts, cultural education and awareness.


Tyson Foods has grown over the years and decades to find new ways to help feed the nation, with the belief that every family deserves to bring quality chicken to their table.

United Airlines

United is an American airline headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It is the world’s third-largest airline when measured by revenue.

Members of the Event Committee Include:

  • Joseph Podlasek (Organizer)
  • Mike Pamonicutt (Commander, Native Veteran Group)
  • Kara Marselle (Secretary)
  • Joe L. Yazzie
  • Phil Valenzo
  • Elizabeth Wimmer
  • Wil Garza
  • Angel Salas-Reveles
  • Crystal Karp
  • Leto Minowa
  • Jody Frauggia
  • Theresa Seidel
  • Eve Muir-Wilson
  • Tina Aragon
  • Marco Dabetis
  • Rich Davi
  • Fleet Neighbors
  • Lisa Davis
  • Dawn O’Keefe Williams
  • Catie Witt
  • Emily Farr

Members of the Host Committee Include:

Kevin Brown

Tribal Councilor, and Chairman of Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority at Mohegan Sun

Marty Castro

Former Chairman US Civil Rights Commission at the White House, Current: Castro Synergies, LLC

Jeffrey A. Coady

Psy.D., CAPT, U.S. Public Health Service, Regional Administrator (Region V), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Jack Detzel

PepsiCo Director Supply Chain Capability & Optimization, President of PepsiCo VALOR

Senator Tammy Duckworth

U.S. Senator, Iraq War Veteran, Purple Heart recipient, and former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Megan Everett

Veterans Program Director at Robert R. McCormick Foundation

First Nations Women Warriors

Native Women Veterans

Anthony Foerster

Pokagon Band of Patowatomi Indians Tribal Historian

Pete Hassen

Vice President of Marketing, Chicago Blackhawks

Paul Herbert

Executive Director, First Division Museum at Cantigny

Dan King

President of Wisconsin Indian Veterans Association, National Congress of American Indians

Debra Marton

Senior Manager of Community Investment, Comcast

Steven Milhiot

PepsiCo, President of PepsiCo Rise

Juanita J. Mullen

Liaison for AI/AN Veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs

Debbie P Rafael

Jesse Brown VA Medical Center

Peter Vicaire

Tribal Government Relations Specialist, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Eli Williamson

Chair and Co-Founder of Leave No Veteran Behind

Submit A Name for Our “In Memory Of” List

Fill our form at this link with the name of a native veteran you would like recognized, and their name will be posted in our ‘In Memory Of’ section below. All names submitted will be read out at the National Gathering of American Indian Veterans to be recognized.

In Memory Of

  • Duke O’Shogay, Army Sgt, Vietnam, LCO – Ojibwe
  • George Warrington, Marines Staff Sgt, Vietnam, Menominee
  • Clarence Eliot Brown, Army, WWI, Cherokee
  • Chucky Oshogay, Army Private, Korea, LCO – Ojibwe
  • Floyd Gendron Sr, Army Private, WWII, Colville Tribes
  • Floyd Gendron Jr, Navy Medic, Vietnam, Colville Tribes
  • Garfield T Brown, Army Cpl, WWII, Oglala Lakota Sioux
  • William H Carufel Jr., USMM/USCG Lieutenant Junior Grade, WWII, LDF Ojibwe
  • Gilbert Whittemore, US Navy Chief Petty Officer, Korean/Vietnam, Navajo/Apache
  • George Underwook, Army Air Corps Captain, WWII, Cherokee