The National Gathering 2018: July 20th – July 22nd

The National Gathering of American Indian Veterans is a yearly event held in the summer at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois. This three day event (July 20th – 22nd, 2018) honors veterans and military personnel of all cultures, eras, and branches in a Native way. Come to participate in special panels lead by veterans and veterans service providers on topics ranging from traditional health and wellness, working with the VA, jobs and economic development for veterans after service, and more. Watch entertaining performances from cultural groups and participate in powwow-style dancing with our veterans. Purchase art and other items from veteran artists and other traditional vendors. This event is free and open to the public, and anyone who would like to join us in honoring all those in the United States military.

See our save the date flier below, and be sure to check this page for updated information as the event gets closer.

Map of Grounds

*Map of the grounds to come

Speakers and Honored Guests Include:

*Additional speakers and honored guest information to come

Mark Denning


Marin Webster Denning is enrolled in the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin. His ancestry includes Menominee, Mille Lacs Ojibwe, Stockbridge-Munsee, French and English. Marin served as the Executive Director of Southeastern Oneida Tribal Services, a full-spectrum social service provider for Oneida tribal members. He is nationally recognized as a leading educator, lecturer and curriculum specialist in American Indian history and culture.

Marin served on the board of directors at Milwaukee’s Indian Community School, a flagship institution of Urban American Indian education, and during his tenure, the school was the recipient of the National Indian School Board Association Award for being a School Board of the Year. He also served as an adviser on the Gates Millennium Educational Foundation and is a board member of Indian Summer Festival. He is a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee – in the school of education, and serves as a consultant and trainer with Boeing Corporation and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Performers Include:

*Additional performer information to come

Beena Wilhelmsen

With a passion for oratorio and concert work, Indian-American mezzo-soprano Beena Wilhelmsen has performed as a soloist internationally with the Coro Filarmonico di Pesaro, and locally with the Lakeview Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and the Harper Festival.

She has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Grant Park Music Festival, the Lira Ensemble, VOX 3 Collective, and operatic roles for the South Shore Opera Company, Chicago Cultural Center, and La Musica Lirica in Italy. Beena also enjoys performing at various sporting events, having sung the American and Canadian anthems for the Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Rush, and Chicago Fire.

Jim Cornelison

Jim Cornelison is the National Anthem singer for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Aztec Dancers

Maori Dancers

Want to place an ad in our event program? Click here to see a downloadable PDF with examples of ad pages, and contact Joe Podlasek at for more details.

Sponsors Include:

American Indian Cancer Foundation

The American Indian Cancer Foundation supports innovative, community-based interventions that engage Native populations in the discovery of their own cancer best practices.

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.

Cohen Veterans Network

At the Cohen Veterans Network, we seek to improve the quality of life for veterans, including those from the National Guard and Reserves, and their families.

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.

Meier Clinics

The Christian counseling professionals at Meier Clinics help people struggling with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, stress, and trauma. They treat the whole person— emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Mohegan Tribe/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 and Veterans Group

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.

Smithsonian Institution NMAI

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines Co. is a major U.S. airline, the world’s largest low-cost carrier, headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

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 Dabetic
  • Sheila Winters
  • Lisa Davis
  • Dawn O’Keefe Williams
  • Nicholas Schaaf
  • 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