Building a place of gathering and connection

The entry to the Eunice Stick Gathering Place.

by Shannon Holsey

Within the Native American community there is an abiding tradition of respect for the importance of family and the honoring of elders. The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians recently opened its new 7,200-square-foot, $1.7 million Elder Center and dedicated it as the “Eunice Stick Gathering Place.”

Eunice, an enrolled tribal member, was born August 31, 1919 and passed away in July 2016 at the age of 96, just short of her 97th birthday. Community, education, and cooking were her passion. She completed her Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1989 at the age of 70.

The new center offers more than 300 tribal and community elders and with vital services, including home-delivered meals, transportation and recreational activities, chore assistance, and most importantly a place to gather and socially connect, which will only be enhanced more through this new facility that serves as an asset to the whole community.

The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians are a federally recognized Native American tribe located in Bowler, Wisconsin and is the largest employer in Shawano County, with just under 1,500 tribal members, a third of the tribal members being 55 and older.  The tribe’s goal is to continue to grow the elderly programs and services, expand the outreach, and participate in community development activities that are mindful of key intentions that:

Promote wellness in the community

Embrace an inclusive environment for all

Foster and continue to build upon the Native American culture and traditions

Tell and preserve our citizens and past ancestral stories

We have lived upon this land from days beyond history’s records, far past any living memory, deep into the time of legend. The story of my people and the story of this place is one single story. We are always joined together. —Pueblo elder

Building a new home for the elderly center has been a goal of our tribal community for many years. Our nation will succeed or fail to the degree that all our citizens and business alike are active participants in building strong, sustainable and enriching communities. Our Eunice Stick Gathering Place is a testament to that commitment. It came with much planning, saving, vision, and patience

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