Successful Native people I’ve met

I’ve met a lot of successful Native people (and also non-Native professionals) in the course of my journalistic career. Here are a few that stand out.

Jonodev Chauduri

Jonodev Chaudhuri is an amazing Native professional that always impressed me with his friendly professionalism. (Photo: Vincent Schilling)

Jonodev who worked diligently in the field of Indian gaming as the head of the National Indian Gaming Commission in Washington D.C. He was always a true professional with a tremendous smile to give and a warm greeting to share. He is the epitome of courtesy. I always felt so honored by him whenever we spoke, met or shared some interview time. He moved on to a legal career and yet still shares a courteous message from time to time. Inasmuch as he was a professional figure, I also consider him a friend.

Wes Studi

Vincent Schilling and Wes Studi (Photo courtesy Vincent Schilling)

Wes Studi is only the biggest Native movie star in the galaxy. The fact he hasn’t been in the Marvel Universe yet is ridiculous. He has shared interviews with me on multiple occasions to include the time he was given an honorary Oscar/Academy award for his lifetime body of work. And yes, I have texted and shared holiday wishes with Wes on several occasions. Not only that, don’t forget he is in the highest grossing film of all time, Avatar.

Suzan Shown Harjo

Suzan Shown Harjo is a wonderful person and a Native civil rights champion (Photo: Vincent Schilling)

Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, is a true Native civil rights hero. She began the fight against the Washington Redskins before many of you dear readers, were even born. She has been at the forefront of Native issues as a voice for change. She fought against the slur of squaw, which was used in many named geographical locations and fought for the derogatory terms removal.

Wayne Newton

Wayne Newton and myself in Richmond, Virginia.

Mr. Las Vegas himself, is a member of the state recognized tribe in Virginia, the Powhatan Patawomeck. He is a direct descendant of Pocahontas’ daughter. And truth told, one of the kindest most gracious celebrities I have ever met. After he came to Virginia to fight for his tribe’s recognition, he invited me and my wife to visit the ranch to meet his family. I look forward to that possibility someday.

A photo collage

A few more people I’ve met are above. Some of there political histories are interesting to say the least:

Felipe Rose of the Village People

Suzan Shown Harjo

Wes Studi and Irene Bedard

Native boxer Comanche Boy

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell

Chief Lynette Allston

Grammy Winner Bill Miller

Tim Kaine

Wayne Newton

ESPN contributor Kevin Blackistone

Michael Bucher

Senator Byron Dorgan (ret.)

Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska

Rudy Guliani

Mohawk leader Mike Jock

The late Senator John McCain

Senator Mark Warner