Neihardt Site Director Announces Retirement
The John G. Neihardt Foundation board of directors has announced the upcoming retirement of Nancy Gillis, Executive Director for the Neihardt State Historic Site museum in Bancroft, Nebraska for May 2014.
Gillis, with the foundation for seventeen years, has become a well known presenter to schools and organizations across the state on Neihardt and the Native cultures of the Great Plains through her role as Executive Director and as a popular speaker with Humanities Nebraska.
She moved to Nebraska in 1987 to work as a missionary with the Winnebago Reformed Church and expanded her opportunities to educate and inspire by also serving both Wayne State College and Northeast Community College as adjunct faculty from 1995 until 2012.
She also taught for Nebraska Indian Community College for many years and currently teaches part-time at Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago. Describing the position of Director as one both challenging and thoroughly enjoyable, Gillis said, "I've looked forward to every day here. The most interesting people are drawn to this place and chance encounters have led to some long lasting friendships. One of the greatest delights has been the interaction with students of all ages, to introduce them, not only to John Neihardt's work, but the rich history and current lives of native people, an area where they are often sadly lacking in accurate knowledge."
Gillis is of Cherokee and Choctaw heritage and draws on her traditional upbringing for many of her presentations. She will continue to do programs on topics such as "Native American Women's Oratory," "The Legacy of Neihardt and Black Elk," The Homestead Act and its Impact on the Tribes of the Great Plains," as well as workshops for teachers on fully integrating Native Americans into their curriculum, and other programs.
The Bancroft site is a branch museum of the Nebraska State Historical Society, and Gillis believes it to be "one of the state's true treasures and it has been a privilege to have had a part in promoting it."
Her retirement leaves the position open and Dr. Jon Cerny, Board President, is accepting inquiries. The position requires a number of varied interests and skills, particularly in education, literature, and the history and cultures of the Great Plains as the museum's focus. Visit the Foundation's website at www.neihardtcenter.org.
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