Artist's Way

Honoring the Women at the UW-Milwaukee Pow Wow

Honoring the Women at the UW-Milwaukee Pow Wow video that I made

Artist's Way

I am a Native American Woman Vlogger!

October 5, 2013 launched my daily vlogging as a Native American Woman Vlogging. Anybody know of any other Native American Women Vloggers out there? I would love to meet them and I strongly believe we can support each as we go on this journey!

Artist's Way

Sponsor Wenona at Camp NaNoWriMo’s fundraising page for Camp NaNoWriMo


Sponsor Wenona at Camp NaNoWriMo’s fundraising page for Camp NaNoWriMo at:


Dear Friends, Family, and Righteous Supporters,

This month, I’m going to camp. It’s a virtual creative-writing camp called Camp NaNoWriMo. While I’m there, I’ll be knocking out a memoir titled “Two Step” a story of a Native American woman from the Mohican tribe finding herself, her higher power, and true love this April.

Take that, archery classes.

Camp NaNoWriMo is run for free by a nonprofit called the Office of Letters and Light. They believe that everyone has a story inside of them—a lesson I’m taking to heart. Every dollar I raise will push me that much closer towards realizing my creative goals.

Your donation will also help fund the Young Writers Program and the Come Write In program for libraries and independent bookstores. As part of this community of inspired writers, I know that encouraging people of every stripe to tell their stories will help build a more engaged, diverse, and inspiring world. With your help, we can make sure the unvoiced stories in classrooms, libraries, and communities all across the world are brought to light.

Thank you so much for your support!

Wenona Morning Star Gardner

aka Buffy

Artist's Way, Mohican

Finding Water Uncovering a Sense of Support

Buffy and Bill at the UW-Milwaukee Pow Wow dancing the Two Step as a couple for the first time in the Freestyle Two Step Competition Contest

One major accomplishment was the success of the Wed. Halloween Dance I helped coordinate for work. Ever since I was hired 5 years ago as the Activities Coordinator I wanted to have a dance for where I work. There hadn’t been a dance for 8 years. I made it part of my goal for this year during last year’s review with my boss. The thing that really got the ball rolling was finding a DJ that gave us a rate that saved us $325 from his regular price. Even my boss thought that the price was really good and I appreciated her approval for the dance. I helped decorated for Halloween dance, I created posters and flyers, I arranged for the gift cards and the amounts for each place, I ran the pumpkin decorating contest, and I ran the judging for the costume contest for the best store bought and the best homemade costumes, I counted all the ballots and found out who all the winners are, handing out all the gift card prizes. There were so many people that became involved that really helped out making this dance special. I appreciate all my friends that made the dance awesome it wouldn’t have happened without them.

My health took a turn for the worst Friday as I called the on call doctor. The bleeding from the Complex Endemetrial Hyperplasia had reached it’s 8th week and on Friday large clots the size of half dollars had formed despite being prescribed medication for a week by my doctor that was supposed to stop the bleeding. The on call doctor had said my only options were to go to the ER or take a stronger dose of medication. I choose to take a larger dose of the medication and my loving boyfriend Bill went to pick up the new prescription for me.  The on call doctor insisted that I see the specialist on Monday.

Later,  I needed a day of healing surrounded by friends and family. I visited my alma mater Alverno College. I reflected on all the healing positive energy I experienced when I went to school there. Alverno was a very safe environment for me then and now. Bill who had never been there before and I shared a hot meal with him from the commons. I made a short video mentioning the fact that Alverno College was celebrating their 125th anniversary. Then my soul sister Judith, Bill, and I went to my other alma mater UW-Milwaukee for the Autumn Pow Wow. Because of my health I only did one dance which was the Two Step. My weight loss goal was to be able to dance the Two Step with my true love Bill. I was in regalia in a ribbon shirt of blue, purple, and pink flowers that was made by a Mohican friend named Kathryn Footit. My necklace of my Mohican tribe Many Trails was made by a Mohican cousin who was at the Pow Wow. The Two Step dance was a Freestyle Contest Competition which Bill and I have never danced before. All the Two Step dances I have ever seen or done were follower the leader. Bill and I danced around the drums and I asked Bill to spin me around a couple of times. I am shocked to have accomplished my goal before losing 200 lbs. It seemed everything lined up for me that night.

The quote from Week 3 that most resonated with me this week is “There is no wilderness like a life without friends; friendship multiplies blessings and minimizes misfortunes; it is a unique remedy against adversity, and its soothes the soul.” – Baltasar Gracian

My Morning Pages reflect the struggles of my health and the frustration I felt of not having much time to make much progress with my memoir during NaNoWriMo. My Artist’s Date was to go shopping at the Pow Wow where I discovered the Mohican beaded medallion that I purchased from family members that I met for the first time. With walks I did amazing this past week considering my health as I received my FitBit pedometer on Friday. So far with FitBit I have taken TOTAL STEPS 8,344. TOTAL DISTANCE 3.70 miles. TOTAL CALORIES BURNED 21,147.

Warm regards,

Bill and I at the UW-Milwaukee Autumn Pow Wow dancing our first Two Step dance together as a couple in a Freestyle Two Step Competition Contest
Artist's Way

My True Motivation for My Weight Loss Goals

Eagle Dancers with Brule at Indian Summer Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Sept 7, 2012

Spend a few minutes writing about the reasons behind your fitness and weight-loss goals. What is your true motivation? What do you hope to achieve or experience after reaching your goal? 

My true motivation for fitness and weight-loss goals is to first walk comfortably and pain free. I used to have so much freedom exploring my world as I walked. I used walking to meditate and to reflect upon my life.

My dearest goal is to be able to dance as a Traditional Women’s Dancer at Pow Wows again like I used to in my teens. That would require greater stamina for all weekend dancing, but also a bigger investment into the creative expression of creating a dance outfit. I remember fondly as a teen really going out and being able to dance with all the other people in a wonderous community. I have even greater memory of when I first created my own dance outfit by myself including doing most of the beadwork. I selected blue satin and fire color ribbons for a ribbon shirt and skirt. I also created fire color beadwork to go with the ensemble. I felt like I really belonged in the native circle. At times when I go to the pow wows now and I sit on the bench watching everybody out on the pow wow floor having a good time that I long for the days when I was physically able to dance out there too.

My biggest dream is to dance a very specific dance called the Two Step which is a couple’s dance at Pow Wows that I wanted to dance with my true love, my boyfriend Bill. I titled my memoir Two Step because I feel like my life has been a dance towards true love.


Artist's Way

Camp NaNoWriMo Rebel

We are in the last gasp of summer and the final week at Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where the campers are writing 50,000 word novels in one month. In my cabin of 5 people and one dog named Waffles, I am a memorist hiding out among the novelists. This first time I have been writing my memoirs during Camp NaNoWriMO going against the grain. I am writing my memoir “Two Step” a story of a Native American woman finding herself, her higher power, and true love.  Behind closed doors it is strange to talk with the novelists. They describe elaborate fictional characters and daring plots to unravel the challenges they are in. While I describe to them the challenges of revealing intimate details of my life and how to oraganize it. But maybe it’s not too far off. I once read somewhere that your memoir must read right like a novel so perhaps my background in writing novel drafts may serve me well as a memoirist too.

As a Camp NaNoWriMo Rebel, I redefine Camp NaNoWriMo as a camp for writing where my goal is to reach 50,000 words by the end of August. I started off with a blast! To get into the spirit of Camp I went and watched a bunch of camp movies. I went through my old journals and got inspired with posts that included details that I had long forgotten. I used on trial period to try out Scrivener software that was very helpful to organizing the details of my story through easy to use index cards and and the binder. Several Camp NaNoWriMo campers highly recommended Scrivener to use for writing my memoir. For most part, Scrivener has been invaluable though it took me a while to learn how to use it. I went through all the tutorials and watched several videos on how to use the software effectively. When I had a problem compiling my document the tech support for Scrivener were awesome in providing a quick response to my request that helped correct my problem quite easily. I have one glitch that recently surfaced that I am going to need to write to them about though. All participants in Camp NaNoWriMo get 20% off of Scrivener and those that validate at 50,000 words can get 50% off of Scrivener.

I have been writing in NaNoWriMo in the original month of November since 2007 generating mulitple drafts of novels. Camp NaNoWriMo first appeared in 2011 and I participated in both June and July of that year. I also participated in June this year and in August. However, this is the first time I have ever written in any NaNoWriMos and gotten sick for a whole week. Yes, for Camp I was in bed with swollen tonsils. That puts a big damper on all the summer festivities. Right now I have managed to reach 40,004 words in my memoir. It’s the final week of Camp NaNoWriMo. The last chance to reach my goals. I just received my Camp NaNoWriMo t-shirt after a few weeks waiting and I am proudly going to wear it at work tomorrow. No matter if I reach the goal or not I will remember the fabulous experience I had with my cabin mates, and taking the time to invest in my creative dreams. Being in Camp NaNoWriMo has taught me the value of surrounding myself with writers and sharing writing challenges and accomplishments together. Already, I can say that my experience with Camp NaNoWriMo has been a success!

Warm regards,