Dan Hechenberger

Nominated By: 
The Honorable Gerald "Jerry" Daugherty
Dan Hechenberger is the founder and volunteer director of the educational non-profit organization Nipwaantiikaani (originally called Nipundikan), a word from the reconstructed Miami-Illinois language that translates as "the lodge where we learn from each other." The organization's mission is "to teach and cultivate an appreciation for social studies and history, multicultural diversity, and multidisciplinary content," which it does through a wide variety of educational material, much of which has been produced by Mr. Hechenberger himself. He has written 14 newsletters on the Illinois sub-tribes and their neighbors, created and performed "The Illiniwek Puppet Show," designed an exhibit on the Illinois tribe for the Southern Illinois University Museum, and co-wrote the new documentary film The Early History of the Illinois Indians in addition to being the film's historical consultant. Mr. Hechenberger has further pursued Nipwaantiikaani's educational mission by making countless living history and storytelling presentations to numerous teachers.