One State-Many Nations

Western Reserve Public Media

Herron’s Whisper
Rena Dennison’s Biography

Mrs. Dennison, 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 request.
  • 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 and share.

The contents of Herron’s Whisper were created by Rena Dennison.
Copyright©2008, Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc. All rights reserved.