Rena Dennison’s Biography
of Dover, Ohio, has had a lifelong association with Native
American culture. A commercial artist, she has in recent
years found her talents used in the field of education,
working with schools, universities and the general public
in presenting programs on Native American arts and culture.
A variety of programs have been developed that deal with
aspects of Native cultures such as: general cultural
information, tools, housing, music, stories, games, stereotypes
and decorative arts. Other programs are available upon
In working with and learning from Native Americans throughout
the United States and Canada, she is able to bring to
diverse audiences a better understanding of the culture
of the first Americans on this Turtle Island.
A skilled artisan in Native American crafts, she specializes
in pre-European contact methods and teaches classes in
quill work, beadwork, brain tanning and the making of
other items used by Native people.
Mrs. Dennison has participated in many workshops and
seminars, working to dispel myths and stereotypes and
to correct erroneous information that persists about
the Native people of this land.
She served as the chair of public relations for the
Delaware Indian Cultural Exchange , presented by the
Delaware Indian Heritage Committee in 1988.
In 1989, she served as project director for educational
programs presented in conjunction with the 20th Annual
Cedars Powwow. The programs were sponsored in part by
the Ohio Humanities Council and the Ohio Arts Council.
A few other events in which
she participated are: The Olde Time American Indian
Crafts Day; the Olde World
Trade Fair; Indians of the Northwest Territory; The Woodland
Indian Experience, A Workshop for Children; Clark State
College Discovery Day; The Maine Annual Conference of
the United Methodist Church; Native American summer camp
at Camp Michawana; Maine Annual Conference; United Methodist
Church workshops on Racism In Maine; The Native American
Heritage Workshops, a week-long seminar in traditional
native crafts, sponsored by the Minnetrista Cultural
Center, Muncie, IN; the “Winter Gathering” at
Olney Friends School, a three-day event for children
ages 11 through 18.
On October 8, 1992, she served as chairperson for the
Native American Cultural Exposition held at Youngstown
State University, Youngstown, Ohio, and presented a program
for teachers at the same event in 1993. The Ohio Arts
and Humanities Councils also sponsored the events. Currently,
she is working with several school systems and universities
to provide workshops that help teachers better understand
Native culture and offer alternative classroom activities
that do not promote and perpetuate our society’s stereotypes
of Native Americans.
A recipient of a grant through the Traditional Arts
Apprenticeship program of the Ohio Arts Council, she
is considered a master artist in the art of bead working,
and has taken on apprentices in that art form.
She acted as a consultant for the Turkey River Family
Day and the exhibit at the Canton Museum of Art in 2003.
Mrs. Dennison is supported in her volunteer work by her
family members, who have encouraged her to continue to learn
of Herron’s Whisper were created by Rena Dennison.
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