Niigaandiwin Education Department

Providing a variety of services to LTBB Citizens, descendants, and the greater community.

Mission Statement

Passionately supporting the growth of our Nation by weaving Ancestral & Contemporary knowledge
through community collaboration

Vision Statement

Life success for the Odawa Nation and the next 7 Generations

Learning Services

K-12 Services
Higher Educational Services including scholarship information

Cultural Services - Cultural services works with LTBB citizens, descendants, and community partners to provide cultural education for the benefit of both tribal and non-tribal community members and educators.

WOCTEP - Career & Technical Education

Data Services

Indigenous Scholars Lecture Series
The LTBB Education Department’s Indigenous Scholars Lecture Series is open to all LTBB tribal citizens, staff, and the general public and is designed to provide a venue to interact with Indigenous scholars from multiple disciplines who have made positive contributions to Indigenous communities and who have influenced practice and policy through scholarly research. The lecture series is intended to enhance the intellectual experience, cultural awareness, and social consciousness of the LTBB and great community.

Flyers for the below recorded lectures.
Dr. Megan Bang
Dr. Mary Hermes
Dr. Kyle Whyte

All lectures are streamed live and recorded through Adobe Connect. Click the links below to view previously recorded lectures.
View Dr. Megan Bang’s lecture here: . E-mail the Education Department Director for the accompanying power point.
View Dr. Mary Hermes’ lecture here: .
View Dr. Kyle Whyte’s lecture here: .

Cultural Library - Special Collection of Native American Media

Contact Information

Located at 7500 Odawa Circle Harbor Springs, Michigan


(231) 242-1480


(231) 242-1490

Jannan Cotto


(231) 242-1481

Jannan is an LTBB citizen and turtle clan. Her maternal grandparents were Franklin Cornstalk and Emma Willis. An advocate of social and eco-justice, she has worked in Indigenous Education for 10 years in both urban and reservation communities with the goal of contributing to the educational sovereignty, healing, and well-being of Indigenous communities. She graduated from Northeastern Illinois University and continued her graduate studies at Eastern Michigan University studying Social Foundations of Education with a concentration in eco-justice. She enjoys laughing, being physically active, and trying new things. Since moving to Northern Michigan from Chicago, she has dabbled a bit in learning Anishinaabemowin, bark work, learning plant medicines, lacrosse, golf, skiing, snow shoeing, ice skating, yoga, soccer, and cross fit. She is a fan of the show Shameless as well as the Oxford Comma.

Tammy Gasco

Admin Assistant

(231) 242-1480

Aanii, my name is Tammy Gasco, I’m the youngest daughter of Vernon and Mary Gasco. Shortly after graduating from Harbor Springs High School, I moved downstate where I jumped straight into the retail working field. After 4 years, I decided I had enough of the city life and moved back to the area. I have worked with the LTBB Government Center for the last 12 years, mostly as the Administration Department’s Receptionist to the LTBB Government. But as of August 2011, I have been working as the Administrative Assistant in the GBD/Education Department. I enjoy spending time with my family (and I am part of a big family), watching my family members play sports and traveling. I live by my Dad’s quote “Work smart, not hard”.

Dorothy Perry

Academic Services Coordinator

(231) 242-1482

Coming from a long line of Educators, Dorothy Perry has continued to follow in this direction with passion and commitment. The culmination of 25 years in the field of Education includes, Early Childhood Education with a focus on the whole child through self-led discovery and learning. Continuing as a Family/School Liaison and supporting parents with infant/ toddler development. For the past 15 years, Dorothy has concentrated on building Indigenous Education programs for youth and community, including developing Land-based curriculum. She is an LTBB Odawa Citizen from Boyne City, Michigan. She currently serves as the Academic Service Coordinator and provides support to the WIOA Outreach Worker, Higher Education Specialist, and Curriculum Specialist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Western Michigan University including concentrations in Art Education, Women’s Studies, and Early Childhood Education. She enjoys weaving and spending time on the water.  Dorothy feels passionate about helping to develop a strong, healthy, Odawa Community.

Belinda McLester

Employment and Training Specialist

(231) 242-1488

Born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, Belinda McLester is a First Nations Tribal member, who moved to the States when she was a baby. Growing up in a family with domestic violence, poverty, and alcoholism, she strives to help others who are suffering and struggling, and considers herself a champion for the underdog. Having “beat the odds”, Belinda loves to challenge others to be their personal best and believes there is greatness within each person. Belinda has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is certified in Reiki, Reconnective Healing, Angel Therapy, Ho’oponopono and Wellness Coaching. She has worked with Native American families for over 11 years, and is passionate about teaching the power of positive thinking.

When Belinda’s not busy trying to “save the world”, she enjoys traveling, being in nature, good food, doing readings, numerology and being around people who have the courage to be who they are.

Kerstine Bennington

Higher Education Services

(231) 242-1492

I’m an area native, born in Petoskey, MI. I dual enrolled with Baker College- Cadillac and North Central Michigan College before attending Michigan State University to attain my BA in Political Science. I moved back to the area in 2016 to have my son, Roman and haven’t slept since. Interesting facts about myself: I was named after an actress in the movie “Nightmare on Elm Street”, I got a cameo in a FF5 music video for my special effects make-up skills and was able to live in Ellsworth, Maine for a short time. Feel free to stop by and say hi!

Curriculum Specialist

Amanda Weinert

(231) 242-1483

Boozhoo/Aanii! Gitigaaneyaashikaaniing indoonjibaa, Anishinaabe ndaaw, mukwa ndoodem, waabishkamakwakwe miinwa Amanda Weinert ndishnikaaz.
Greetings! I grew up in Garden, MI (a peninsula in the Upper Peninsula merging southwestward into michigami/Lake Michigan). I identify as Anishinaabe (Citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa, with ancestral connection to Waganakising). My clan/doodem is bear/mukwa. My Anishinaabemowin name translates to White Bear Woman and my common name is Amanda Weinert. I view our work here at the LTBB Education Department as part of an expansive network of active Anishinaabek resiliency.  My position as the Ishkakimikwe Kinomaagewinan (Mother Earth Teachings) Curriculum Specialist is exciting because we are working with educators to integrate decolonizing, land-based pedagogies and perspectives into curricula. I studied Art and Design (focusing on jewelry/metalsmithing) and Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University (Bachelor of Science, 2014). And I still have the occasional problems of finding metal shavings in my socks and accidently burning my fingerprints off.

Cultural Services Specialist

Theresa Chingwa

(231) 242-1486

Aanii (Hello), my name is Theresa Chingwa; I was born in Flint, MI and was primarily raised there. I have also lived in New Mexico, Georgia and Lansing, MI. I moved to northern Michigan after graduating high school and have been in northern Michigan ever since. My tribes are Cheyenne, Arapaho, Choctaw, Odawa and Ojibwa. I have four children my oldest son Kunu, twin sons Nizu and Haga and my youngest a daughter, Suzi. I have an Associate’s Degree in Business Management from North Central Michigan. I’m a member of and started working for Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Human Services Department from 1999 then transferred over to Cultural Services since 2011. In my current position, I’m the Education Departments Cultural Services Specialist.

Cultural Library Specialist

Celestine Petoskey

(231) 242-1487

Aanii. My name is Celestine “Nagamowin-Bineshii” Petoskey. I am Waganakising Odawa, daughter of Bubba & Candace Worthington. I grew up in Harbor Springs, MI and graduated from Harbor Springs High School. I earned a Business & Office Technology Certificate from Bay Mills Community College through WOCTEP in May 2007. I attended Central Michigan University online and graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Community Development in May 2013. I’m married to William Petoskey and have three wonderfully inquisitive children. Libraries have always been a special haven for me, and reading and literature have been equally near and dear to my heart. I also believe in lifelong learning, so I’m excited to be a part of LTBB’s Cultural Library and its reach to the community.

Wiidikendming Eyaawwying Asst

Jeremy Steele

(231) 242-1485

Aanii, Jenmii Steele Ndishnikaaz. Waganakising Odawa ndaaw. LTBB ndodabendaagwaz. Ndoskoonwe. Chicago ngiijindaadiz.
Hello my name is Jeremy Steele. I am Waganakising Odawa and I belong to the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. I am a student. I was born in Chicago.
I moved up to the Petoskey area after graduating high school. I am one semester away from obtaining my Associates of Arts at North Central Michigan College. Once I obtain my associates, I plan to attend either Central Michigan University, or Michigan State. I have been working closely with my community since last spring. I have served as a tutor working  with kids in 1st through 6th grades at the youth services building. I have also worked as a counselor at Camp Agamiing over the summer. I currently  work at the tribal building in the Education Department, as the Wiidikendmin Eyaawwying Project Assistant. Some interesting about me are that I enjoy playing basketball and playing video games. I aspire to have a tesla and my own business. Miigwetch!

WOCTEP Project Director

Christopher Polasky

(231) 242-1489

I’m an Anthabascan Indian and Native Alaskan, also a member of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska. I’m a father of 6 adult children. I have 9 years of Tribal Social Services experience. I also have 4 years of Informational Technology experience, 4 years of Tribal Behavioral Health Program experience. With 13 years combined grant management experience.

WOCTEP Admin Assistant

Kim Gabrick

(231) 242-1494

My name is Kim Gabrick and I have worked as the WOCTEP Administrative Assistant for 8 years. I previously worked for the Petoskey News-Review for 25 years as the Assistant Circulation Manager. I have an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from North Central Michigan College in Petoskey. I am a member of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. I like spending time with my husband Brian, my son Dalton, and my miniature Schnauzer Tucker. I also enjoy watching NASCAR.

WOCTEP Student Advisor

Jon Anthony

(231) 242-1484

Jon Anthony has a background in Art, graduating with a Painting MFA in 2012 from MSU. While in school, he had the opportunity to teach classes for three years. Education continues to be an important aspect of Jon’s career and personal life. He’s interested in all forms of art, was recently involved with a dance group, is an avid music fan, and has a passion for fashion! In his downtime he enjoys running, kung-fu movies, and reading. Serving and being part of the community, building relationships, and learning traditions has been a transformative experience for him.

WOCTEP Lab Assistant

Dan Hinmon

(231) 242-1478

Aanii, my name is Dan Hinmon. I am an LTBB tribal member. I have worked for 3 years as the Computer Lab Assistant/Business Resource Specialist for LTBB WOCTEP. I am currently enrolled at NCMC and am pursuing my Associates in Business Management. I am also an Anishnabemowin language learner and am a member of the Minoomin Committee. In my free time I love to travel.