American Indian Editor
Austen Brauker is a tribal member of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians located in Manistee Michigan. He currently works for the Tribal Court at the Justice Center as a Peacemaker and Probation Officer. His job involves using traditional healing practices to perform dispute resolutions by restoring balance and using communication to reach agreements between conflicting parties. This process primarily uses the Peacemaking circle, the Seven Grandfather Teachings, facilitating ceremonial activities, engaging people in cultural exploration, referring them to helping services, being active in the public schools, dealing with state courts and county probation offices, managing regular adult and juvenile probation cases, assisting with sex offender registry and management, providing traditional drum services for tribal events, networking with organizations and agencies that provide youth services, developing grass roots programs and strategic plans for program implementation, training Peacemakers and youth service providers and doing presentations for colleges and conferences about Native American culture, music and art, and restorative justice practices.
Austen has recently developed a program called Indian Village Camp for which he received a competitive grant from the Department of Justice to develop and coordinate a wilderness survival program for at-risk and court involved youth that is taught from a cultural perspective. He is an avid outdoors person who likes to fish and hunt for his family, bringing home various game such as deer, bear, rabbit, squirrel and elk. He practices the expression of tribal sovereignty by exercising his guaranteed treaty rights to spear for fish as well as collecting medicinal herbs and mushrooms from traditional hunting and gathering grounds.
Austen is a musician and has played guitar for almost thirty years in several different bands and as a solo performer. He has home-recorded several CD’s of original music. He also plays the bass guitar, mandolin, banjo and the Native American flute. His artwork is on display in many places, including a large mural at the entrance of the Willows restaurant at the Little River Casino. He does stained glass and has eight large pieces 5 ft. by 5 ft. on display in the Mt. Pleasant public schools, where he attended elementary, middle and high school, then majoring in psychology at CMU.
His short stories, poems and articles appear in numerous publications and two of his plays were produced by West Shore Community College. Austen is a skilled wood worker and has learned many aspects of home construction, especially doing log work, rustic furniture and trim and custom tile work. Other jobs he has had in the past include being a Librarian at the Fremont Public Library, the Herd Manager at Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve, a Dark Room Technician and Pre-Press Graphics Stripper at the Herald Republican Newspaper, a Substance Abuse counselor at Ojibwe Substance Abuse, a counselor for youth sex offenders at Pegasus School, worked for the Boy Scouts of America at Camp Rotary BSA in Clare Mi. as their Voyager, Waterfront Director and Native American Cultural Consultant, was a camp counselor at High Hope Camp in Clear Lake IN., a counselor for the Y.M.C.A, as a parent-teacher-student liaison for the Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, as a counselor for the King Chavez Parks summer youth program at CMU, as a counselor at a culture camp for youth called Apache Lodges, as a junior high teacher for the alternative school at the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, as an Ice Skating Rink Supervisor for Mt. Pleasant Parks and Recreation Dept. , a printer for Astro-Graphics specializing in high tech. screen printing, as a dry wall hanger and then hanging siding and doing finish work, as a dishwasher, a Christmas tree bailer, and as an award certificate calligrapher.
Austen owned a Native Art Gallery in Manistee during the mid nineties called Ottaway Arts and a home-based day care called the Turtle Club. He wrote the business plan for and then helped build a 5,000 sq. ft. log bed-and-breakfast in Sleeping Bear Dunes called the Slo-Shu Lodge, where his custom log, tile and decorative stone work can still be seen.
He currently owns the businesses of Austen Brauker Arts and Homunculus Publishing. Austen served on the board of directors for Mt. Pleasant Counseling Services, for the Mt. Pleasant Public Schools Native American Involvement Outreach Committee, did commission based work for the Office of Student Affairs at CMU and served as President of the American Indian Student Organization in ‘88, was a member of the logo reform committee that abolished the use of the Chippewa Indian mascot, served on the Pow-wow committee for the 1st Annual mid-winter Central Michigan Pow-wow, was a member of the traditional touring group called the Ojibwe Drum and Dance Group, was a member of the Ojibwe Cultural Committee, was a member of the Brown Hawk Warrior Society, is currently a member of the Naagadoodaa Anishinaabe Bimaadziwin group in Manistee, was an orientation presenter for CMU’s incoming freshmen class of ‘87, was a representative for youth programming at the Parks and Rec. Committee in Mt. Pleasant.
Click here to write Austen