For Those who are Interested
I was born and raised in Michigan, the son of Ronald Wildman, the son of Virgil Wildman, the son of John Wildman, who first came to Michigan in the late 1800s. My ancestry in this land includes Ojibwe from Canada and Yaqui from Arizona and Mexico. My ancestry includes those from other lands, mostly English and German.
I have done many things over the years of my life; served in the U.S. Army for 2 years back in the early 1970s, worked at factories, restaurants, and for 9 years worked at Eagle Village in Northern Michigan helping troubled teens and their families. I also have been a pastor and worship leader in several churches in Michigan, Kansas City, and on the Hopi Indian Reservation. I served for 2 years (along with my wife, Darlene) at Youth With A Mission while living among the Hopi.
In the year 2002 we founded Rain Ministries.
My wife and I currently have 5 children; 4 in Michigan and 1 in California. We also have 9 grandchildren and 2 great granddaughters, who all live in Michigan.
I believe in and follow Creator’s Son Jesus and have been walking the good road with him for over 40 years.
Mixed Blood, but not Mixed Up!
There are many Native Americans today who are mixed blood. This is especially true of the tribes East of the Mississippi River–because of the removals in the mid 1800s. Those who stayed behind were forced to meld into society and many intermarried for survival.
I am a mixed blood, with Ojibwe (Chippewa) and Yaqui ancestry. At family gatherings, when I was younger, my Grandpa would sometimes talk about our Chippewa ancestry. My Great Grandfather grew up among the Chippewa on Manitoulin Island in Canada, he spoke some of his native language, Annishinabe Moen and English. The Annishinabeg are Algonquin language based. In Michigan it is the Ojibwe (Chippewa), Potawatomi, and Odawa (Ottowa) who make up the Three Fires. The Ojibwe are Keepers of the Faith, the Odawa are Traders in Goods, and the Potawatomi are Keepers of the Fire.
My Grandmother was born in Arizona and her mother was a Yaqui Indian from across the border in Mexico.
Many times full bloods reject the mixed bloods and try to shame them by calling them “Wanabees”. None of us chose where we are born or who are ancestors will be. Part of who I am is Ojibwe and Yaqui. Even though I am not qualified to be tribally enrolled, because of Creator’s call on my life, I am embracing that part of my heritage.
Whats in a Name?
Sometimes at our events I get asked, “what is your Indian name?”
In the Ojibwe culture a name is usually given to a child shortly after birth. It is the name that they will be known and recognized by in the spirit world, sometimes called a “spirit name”. Since I wasn’t raised in the Ojibwe culture I didn’t receive my “spirit name”.
Several years ago I asked my then mentor Casey Church-Benai (Potawatomi) if he would seek the Creator for a name. I waited about a year and a half before he announced that he had a name for me.
My naming ceremony took place in New Mexico at the BIC Mission. A few people attended and I was expected to give a gift to each person attending. At the naming ceremony Casey announced my new name, Gitchi Animiki, meaning (Voice of the) Great Thunder.
He then said, “Revelation Chapter 4 speaks of flashes of lighting and thunder with voices. Jesus is like the lightning flashing and when you speak and sing for him you are like the sound of great thunder following the lightning. But then he added–when you are home your name will be “Big Thunder” so you won’t get a big head.
A few years later another mentor, Bryan Jon (Ojibwe) gave me another name, (along with another ceremony) Meno Mashkiki Manidoo, meaning Good Medicine Spirit.
Gitchi Animiki Meno Mashkiki Manidoo
(Voice of the) Great Thunder (with a) Good Medicine Spirit
I have a lot to live up to, but I will carry this name to honor my ancestors and my Creator.