Our Story

Dan and Susan Ninham

lifelong educators, mentors, role models

Dan Ninham is Wolf Clan from the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin. A thirty-five year middle school physical education teacher, Dan has worked at Wingate High School (New Mexico), Oneida Tribal School (Wisconsin) and Bemidji Middle School (Minnesota). In December of 2009, Dan earned a PhD in Physical Education with an emphasis in Sport Pedagogy at the University of Northern Colorado. He recently was inducted in the National Indian Athletic Activities Hall of Fame. Although receiving honors as a state middle level physical education teacher of the year, a state boys’ basketball coach of the year, a Bemidji State University Outstanding Alumni, and inducted in a national athletic hall of fame, Dan believes it’s an honor to be an active leader and educator with our most valuable resources: Our youth.

Dan and his wife Susan (Red Lake Ojibwe) are former regional coordinators of the Wings of the Great Lakes Indian Youth Running Project from 1991-2000. Dan also held leadership positions on the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Fitness and Sport, the Minnesota Physical Education Council, owns Coach Dan Ninham Basketball: a playbook, instructional dvd and player development business, and he is a monthly columnist featuring native athletes and coaches for The Circle News, and a contributing sportswriter for ndnsports with a large archive of male and female lacrosse players.

Dan has experience leading and directing modern and traditional lacrosse programming. He founded the Oneida Nation Lacrosse program 37 years ago and the program continues to grow with leadership that includes his former players. Dan started the Northern Minnesota Lacrosse Development Initiative when he and Susan left Oneida 29 years ago to go to Bemidji, MN and Red Lake, MN. Dan also started Red Lake Nation Lacrosse, North Central Lacrosse and Northern Indigenous Lacrosse. The Northern Indigenous Lacrosse team played in a tournament in the fall of 2018 in the greater twin cities area comprised of Oneida, Ho-Chunk, Ojibwe and Dakota native players. Dan has invited Iroquois Nationals athletes and coaches to Minnesota and Wisconsin native communities for the past decade. He also directed the Iroquois Nationals Juniors to play exhibition games in Oneida, WI in 1992 versus the Illinois College All Stars and the Wisconsin College All Stars.

Dan and Susan extend their leadership with the Northern Indigenous Games encouraging the development of indigenous games programming throughout Indian Country. They also organized the Empowered Youth Development Initiatives with the motto: “At Risk? How About At Potential?”

Dan and Susan are proud parents of their children Byron (Amy), Lydia (Terrance) and Simone, and grandparents of Ari, Saniya, Adeline, Miles and Nagweyaab.

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