"Illness becomes wellness when I becomes We"
Healing Intergenerational Roots for All Nations-One Tribe 

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HIR Wellness Center is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations made are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law. Through the generosity of our donors, we are able to sustain our services and enhance our program offerings. We thank you for your continued support! 

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Leadership and Governance:

The Children's Fire

Indigenous and Western Archtypes

In our journey, as an organization, we are committed to forging deeper conversations and cultivating systemic change around decolonizing mental health practices, treatment, and pedagogy, which was designed to support an individualistic and Western worldview of illness. The trauma experienced, intergenerationally, from social injustice, racism, discrimination, and the cascading effects of Historical Trauma, require a culturally responsive, relevant, and community-informed and co-created mental health services and programming. Communal healing requires a shared responsibility and accountability; it takes a tribe to raise a community. This is why our founder developed our Healing Pathways Model, an approach we use to meet our community and client's healing and therapy needs. 

 

Out of respect and relationship to one another, Healing Intergenerational Roots (HIR) Wellness Center chooses to follow the ancient and Indigenous leadership teachings called, The Children’s Fire.  It’s about resilience, trust, community and democracy. The two laws of the Children’s Fire are that (1) The Children’s Fire must forever keep going, and (2) The feminine must be protected. We will always seek to protect our future by pledging that no harm will come to our children by doing what’s in their best interest and ensuring the continuation of our ways.  Our focus is on intergenerational healing and we offer programming that encourages this practice to address the unique needs of Historical Trauma Informed Community-Centered Healing. 

 

The various archetypes involved in this model  include the Grandparents, Creators, the Pattern Keepers, the Tricksters, the Storytellers, the Warriors, the Healers, the Feminine, and the Council. It is with these archetypes that HIR Wellness identifies its leadership with the most crucial decisions being made by the grandparent types, our board members. HIR Wellness Center is still growing, so there are some of our archetypes that are filled by more familiar titles. As you scroll through our leadership and governance positions, you will notice the Indigenous Archetypes shared first and by clicking on the arrows, the Western Archetype will appear.  

Please see the resources below to learn more!

Warriors, Pattern Keepers, Healers, and the Feminine

Indigenous Archetype

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Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to get into the line of work that would make a difference in people’s lives. This interest grew into my undying passion for the helping field. As a mother of two, wife, community member, and Indigenous person (Hawaiian & Pacific Islander ancestry, and my husband and children are Oneida), the healing of our Indigenous communities is part of my family and ancestors' journey too. HIR Wellness Center grew out of the community voices from my Master's thesis, a research project that was a study on Healing Historical Trauma. I spent two years working on this research and meeting with over 200 of our Native community members across the state and had many meaningful conversations. One man who shared with me called the impact that Historical Trauma has had in his and his family lives, the "Chain of Pain". I learned a great deal from our community members who took the time to convey their story with me. One Elder who spoke with me said, "I hope you really do something with all this information". He was referring to my research study and I took his words to heart and absolutely agreed with him but how could I make a difference in an Ocean of pain? Although I wasn't sure how I would use the information from my research, I knew I had a responsibility to do something good with the knowledge I had gained. Working in the mental health field for over 20 years, I also was discouraged with the lack of awareness that many therapists had on how to help support the healing process from the trauma and adversity experienced by our communities from social injustice. This awareness would evolve into becoming my life's work and started HIR (Healing Intergenerational Roots) Wellness Center. I wholeheartedly believe that it shouldn't cost anyone to heal. To make this vision a reality and as we work towards fully funding our organization, everyone that provides services at HIR has done so as volunteers/in-kind support, including myself. The last few years have had challenging moments, endless days, and minimal resources, yet, the past two years has taught me that anything worth believing in takes time, hope, supportive relationships, and the heart to see it through. 

It has not been until very recently that we have had the capacity to bring on some of our staff, part-time. As a young nonprofit organization, two years old, we are growing with gusto and staying true to our values as an organization, offering all of our counseling services at no cost to the client. None of this would be possible without our strong community partnerships, volunteers, in-kind services and donations.

When I first began my journey in the helping field, I was a peer mediator at Walker's Point Youth and Family Center in 1996. This expereince would spark my interest and I landed my first job in the field in 

1999 as a behavioral health technician and group facilitator at a Psychiatric hospital. I continued to grow my skills and knowledge working with vulnerable populations in various settings and quickly realized that the behavioral approach to mental health limited the treatment process for those who suffered from complex and developmental trauma. Since then, I graduated with my Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in 2006 and completed my Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health from Mount Mary University in 2016. As my career grew, I began to present workshops, trainings, and keynotes, locally, statewide, Nationally, and Internationally, including speaking at Global conferences, in Cape Town, South Africa at the "Pathways To Resilience" Conference, Banff, Canada at the 2nd & 3rd Neurosequential Model Symposium, and in Winnipeg, Canada, at the 9th Annual National Mental Health Conference. As a licensed therapist LPC, Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), NMT (Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics) trained, and community-based participatory (CBPR) researcher in Milwaukee, WI, I am committed to the well-being of all my clients, their families, and our communities. It was from my research that HIR Wellness Center grew from a dream to a thriving practice, where individual, family, and community wellness is addressed through our healing pathways model. Wellness happens when we work together, it is relational, it is intergenerational, and it (Wellness) requires an integrated and multi-systemic approach to addressing mental health concerns. Our motto is "Illness Becomes Wellness when I becomes We, Healing All Nations, One Tribe".

Founder, CEO, Clinical Psychotherapist & Researcher 

Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) Consultant &

Mental Health First Aid Instructor 

Lea S. Denny, M.S., LPC, NCC, NMT

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As a founding team members at HIR Wellness Center, I am excited to see how much we have grown in such a short time. Although I hold various roles at HIR, where I volunteered much of my time and often moonlighted my effort's after work since 2016. I began my part-time position as the Grants and Operations Officer at HIR Wellness Center in 2019. I am passionate about human and environmental rights and advocating for others. My previous development roles were at BloodCenter of Wisconsin and Saint John’s On The Lake. I have volunteered with several local organizations including Sojourner Family Peace Center and the International Institute of Wisconsin. I earned my bachelor's degree in anthropology and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a Master's degree in public administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management. I look forward to growing my work with HIR Wellness Center as we continue to grow our programming and community services. 

Grants and Operations Officer

Deanna Schwenner, MPA

Through my experiences, I have developed a passion for understanding the worldview of others and to walk alongside them through their journey of wellness. I believe that when it comes to individual wellness, we cannot overlook the community they are a part of. I embody a holistic, relational, and systemic approach, while striving to be an advocate for the underserved communities impacted by historical trauma. 

Program and Operations Coordinator, Volunteer Therapist

Tanya Scheidegger, M.S., LPC-IT, NCC

Like our founder, I have known since I was a child that I wanted to lend my voice to the most vulnerable people in society. Those that may not feel the freedom or are developing the bravery to use their own voices for self advocacy. My passion expanded after graduate school when I realized that not only were individuals in need of advocates but whole communities were suffering due to historical trauma and disenfranchisement. Becoming the inaugural board president of HIR Wellness Center offered me a chance to support an amazing team that recognizes the moral imperative of embracing wellness for individuals through healing communities. As my role at HIR Wellness Center continues to evolve, I now 

provide guidance and mentorships, in -kind, for clinical supervision, co-facilitating the CAM intern cohort trainings, attending CAM events, and serving as an Ethics and Crisis advisor. 

CAM Intern Cohort and Clinical Counseling Supervisor, Ethics and Crisis Advisor

S. Michele Cohen, Ph.D, LPC, LCPC

I currently serve as the Our Ways Director for the Indian Community School - Franklin, WI. I am a graduate of Marquette University, and licensed clinical psychologist. I have worked with mental health services collaboratively with Native spiritual helpers, social services and related programs essential in addressing multiple needs of the American Indian community. In giving back to my community, I volunteer at different events and gatherings as well as provide, in-kind, clinical supervision for counseling interns at HIR. As a lecturer, I have worked with schools and community organizations on training and education programs throughout the state. I am an active member of Marquette University’s Council on Native American Affairs and a long standing member of numerous Psychology Associations and societies.

Oneida Tribal Member, Clinical Supervisor and Cultural Advisor

Mark Powless, Ph.D

I am a Graduate Student at Mount Mary University, and I come to HIR bringing my most true and authentic self by providing supportive, healing and vibrant energy to all those I come in contact with. Professionally, I have worked in a variety of different environments which have required me to provide safe and healing spaces for individuals. From being Vice President of a diversity club to a Resident Assistant, I have had to work both one on one and in group settings to ensure positive wellbeing in individuals.
 
Some of my hobbies and interest include photography, meditation, being outside (summer and fall) and drinking tea! Self-care is an important aspect of my life as it creates a sense of inner peace. This allows me to reconnect with myself as well as deepen the connection I feel between all things. One interesting fact about me is that I am a vegan and my favorite vegan cheat snacks are Oreos -yes they are vegan! I look forward to my time at here at HIR Wellness Center and being a part of an amazing team of healers!

Counseling Intern

Xavier Smart

The CAM Cohort first learns about and how to facilitate our Community Activated Medicine (CAM) events and workshops during their internship experience. The students then staff our CAMPsite (mobile mental health pop up outreach program) at various events throughout the year. 

Mount Mary Counseling Students

CAM Cohort

Grandparents, occasional Story Tellers, occasional Creators, occasional Council

Indigenous Archetype

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I have been enthusiastic and driven to add to the difficult conversations around teaching and talking about building resilience and healing our communities from the relentless impact of Historical Trauma and systemic oppression. In moving our families and communities forward from what I see as unhealthy to healthy ways of being," to Alive, to Surviving, to Thriving". It was serendipitous when I first met Lea while she was in her Master's program and learned about her research and vision for this work. We talked for hours, as I too shared my passion for this work. I have offered my guidance and unwavering support since this first meeting years ago, and now as HIR's board president, I will continue this mentorship and work towards our common goal, growing HIR . I believe strongly in encouraging and mentoring our Indigenous women and women of color for leadership roles and community engagement. I have over 30 years of expertise in various fields of work including journalism and communications, lecturer, published author, Human Resources and policy development, Keynote and presenter, and currently as supervisor and project manager for the Ho-Chunk Nation Social Services, Community Support Services. In these various settings, I work toward including certain values: learn to respect honest work done well (Nel Noddings), learn to treat yourself, others, and the environment with dignity and respect (Brice Wilkinson), learn to be able to create options for yourself (Linda Sue Warner), and seek to make a fairer, kinder, and more compassionate world (Peggy McIntosh). 

Ho Chunk Tribal Member, HIR Wellness Center Board President

Barbara Blackdeer Mackenzie, M.Ed

Indigenous Archetypes

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As a tribal member, husband, father, and Director of Southeastern Oneida Tribal Services (SEOTS), I recognize the value of community and the need for culturally responsive and relevant social services for our Native community members living in rural and urban areas. I give back to my community as often as I can and serve on various committees, I am a board member for Spotted Eagle, a nonprofit organization that provides free vocational training for our Native community, and continue to serve as one of the founding board members at HIR Wellness Center. You can find me every Tuesday, at SEOTS, calling out BINGO for our Elder programming. I received my Master's degree in Business from Marquette University. I enjoy spending my time growing my knowledge about my Oneida language and cultural teachings and sharing what I learn with my family, friends, and community. 

Oneida Tribal Member, HIR Wellness Center Board Treasurer

Mark W. Powless, MBA

Indigenous Archetypes

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Grants and Operations Officer and Board Secretary. 

HIR Wellness Center Board Secretary

Deanna Shwenner,MPA

Indigenous Archetypes

Creators, Pattern Keepers, Story Tellers, and Tricksters

Indigenous Archetype

I received my PhD in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 1971 and taught in the clinical psychology program at Bowling Green State University. I joined the Psychology staff at the Zablocki VA Medical Center in 1975, and worked in AODA Treatment, Smoking Cessation, Cardiac Rehabilitation, and Spinal Cord Injury. I have been active in research over the years, and have numerous publications.  I continued teaching, both for the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin for 35 years, and part time for the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.  I have known Lea since she first took my undergraduate course in psychology there over 15 years ago! She was a driven and passionate young person then and this energy has only grown and become more focused. Our paths would continue to cross and once she began her journey through her graduate studies, our friendship and my mentoring grew. Although I officially retired in 2011, I continue to work part-time at the VA and serve on an Institutional Review board for a local University. I review articles submitted to professional journals, and perhaps most importantly, I have the pleasure of providing support and mentorship for community-based participatory research conducted at Lea’s HIR Wellness Center. 

Mentor

Jim Hastings, Ph.D

Indigenous Archetypes

I am the Associate Professor and Practicum and Internship Coordinator for the Graduate Program in Counseling, Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, WI. I received my doctoral degree from The Ohio State University in Marriage and Family Therapy. I have trained and presented locally, throughout our state, nation, and internationally on the impact of trauma, compassion resilience, and historical trauma. As a researcher, I focus on strength-based and culturally informed practices to inform the mental health field, educators, and professionals. My interests include supervision, trauma counseling, and compassion resilience. I am thrilled about the opportunities - mentorship, supervision, and support -  that HIR Wellness Center offers my graduate counseling students. Addressing trauma and adversity requires a systemic approach and this is one of the many reasons why it made sense for us to join HIR's CAM project and pilot our first CAM Intern Cohort to staff CAM events and CAMPsites (Mobile Community Mental Health and outreach Pop Ups). I am so proud to be giving back to HIR in a small way by providing guidance for the HIR team in counseling and mental health ethics. 

Mentor

Tammy Scheidegger, Ph.D, LPC, NCC

Indigenous Archetypes

The Council

Indigenous Archetype

The council

Community Partner

Southeastern Oneida Tribal Services

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The council

Community Partner 

Ho-Chunk Nation- Milwaukee Branch

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The council

Community Partner

Mount Mary University

Resources and Inspiration

The Children’s Fire movement 

www.thechildrensfiremovement.com 

 

Mac brings The Children’s Fire to QI GLOBAL 2010