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Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan welcomes Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Miskopwaaganikwe Leora Tadgerson will continue her work building relationships between the church and community.
Miskopwaaganikwe Leora Tadgerson stands in St. Peter Cathedral, Marquette.
Miskopwaaganikwe Leora Tadgerson stands in St. Peter Cathedral, Marquette.(Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan)
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 10:45 AM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan announced the addition of a new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Wednesday.

Miskopwaaganikwe Leora Tadgerson most recently served as Interim Director at the Student Equity and Engagement Center at Northern Michigan University (NMU). She also teaches Indigenous Studies with the Center for Native American Studies (CNAS) at NMU with a concentration in Anishinaabemowin (Indigenous language of the Great Lakes Region).

Tadgerson has partnered with the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan and the Great Lakes Peace Center for a number of years, serving as a team member for the Walking Together: Finding Common Ground Traveling Exhibit, connecting with survivors of Michigan-based Native American Boarding Schools to share their stories and work toward healing with Indigenous communities. The church said Tadgerson’s work as a tribal liaison has helped to build trust and authentic relationships with countless partners in the work for racial healing and Becoming Beloved Community.

Tadgerson also serves on the Board of Directors of Title Track, a statewide organization based on youth, water and racial equity and recently on the Food Sovereignty Symposium and Festival Planning Committee to be held in Marquette this month.

The church says the aim of the new role is not to diversify pews, but to bring a diversity of thought to the organization’s leadership. Tadgerson says part of accomplishing this is having indigenous people represented in church leadership.

“We want to be able to have a seat at the table for indigenous people. We need to be able to diversify the climate. Having a culturally inclusive climate in an area that rests on the ancestral homelands of the Great Lakes Anishinaabe is important, no matter what organization it is. I’m really grateful that the diocese is really taking this huge step, and I hope that they set a precedent for other denominations,” said Leora Tadgerson, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

“For us to have someone who stretches us and draws us out into the community in authentic ways, and calls us on our stuff when we need to be called on it, I think is being more responsible in our religious endeavors,” said Lydia Kelsey Bucklin, Episcopal Canon to the Ordinary to the Bishop.

As Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Episcopal Diocese in Northern Michigan, the Episcopal Diocese said Leora will continue the truth telling and relationship building work with community partners and will guide diocesan leadership in programs and initiatives to “move us closer to God’s vision for us as reconciling communities rooted in love.”

“We, in the Diocese of Northern Michigan, are committed to the work of racial equity and justice,” said Bishop Rayford Ray. “We were inspired by the report produced by the Presiding Officers’ Working Group on Truth-Telling, Reckoning and Healing, which stresses the need for more intentional support on the diocesan and local levels and we are beyond blessed that Leora is willing to partner with us in this work.”

For further information contact Lydia Kelsey Bucklin, lydia@upepiscopal.org or call 906-228-7160.

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