Professional Achievement Award

SchedlerJo Ann Gardner Lenz Schedler, Nurs ’82
Gresham, Wis.

The threads of history and tradition are interwoven, forming a fabric to preserve and pass on to future generations. It is a sacred duty Jo Ann Gardner Schedler has dedicated her life to fulfilling. As a tribal leader, historian, and advocate for education, Jo Ann weaves a narrative that honors community and empowers future Native leaders.

Born on the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation in Wisconsin, Jo Ann is an enrolled member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians. She is a direct descendent of Captain John Konkapot, who was the sachem when the Mohican Tribe accepted a mission in what is now Stockbridge, Mass.

Jo Ann’s work has revolved around themes of health services, Indigenous heritage, military service, cultural preservation, and education. Throughout her life, she has striven to honor her tribal roots, serve her country, and uplift her community and the next generation of Native leaders.

Jo Ann earned her nursing degree from Marquette in 1982. “My Marquette education and experience taught me critical thinking skills, compassion, dedication, the need to continually learn by developing body, mind and spirit, and the importance of service to others,” Jo Ann says.

Following graduation, Jo Ann’s journey took an unexpected turn when a family member who was also an Army recruiter encouraged her enlistment. In 2004, she retired after more than 20 years as an Army Nurse reservist.

Jo Ann’s military experience ignited her interest in history, particularly that of Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Veterans during the Civil War. Her passion for preserving Mohican and Munsee tribal history led to her work on the Mohican 101 Project, which explores the Mohican Nation’s history and will help the tribal community build a curriculum to tell its story. She contributed to a National Park Service book, American Indians and the Civil War, writing the chapter, “Wisconsin American Indians in the Civil War.” Today, Jo Ann and her grandson are working on a book to tell the stories of Mohican Warriors and families in war.

As a former member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council, Jo Ann held a long list of leadership roles. “I am blessed to have had an excellent education at Marquette, which led to service in leadership roles at Milwaukee County, the Federal government, as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, and with my Tribe, the Mohican Nation,” she says.

Her ongoing involvement in tribal affairs demonstrates her commitment to her community and extends to her trailblazing work through Marquette. As a founding member of Marquette's Council on Native American Affairs, she has strengthened the ties between the university and Native communities, promoting education and nurturing future leaders. Like Jo Ann, each member has in their hearts and minds the next generation of Native leaders.

Fun Fact:

  • Jo Ann was a founder of Milwaukee’s Indian Summer Festivals, Inc., serving on the board with distinction for more than 30 years.
  • Before becoming a nurse, Jo Ann was a beautician. While on active duty at Fort McCoy, she offered free haircuts to soldiers at the base.
  • In 1979-80, Jo Ann was elected as the American Indian Student President along with fellow Marquette students Mark Denning and Rita Beauprey.

Leave a congratulatory message for Jo Ann!