Mrs. Veda Stone was an inspirational figure throughout the development of the AIS Major at UW-Eau Claire. Her hard work and determination were the foundation and driving force behind many people's efforts, and she will be remembered kindly by all of us.
After several years as a teacher and social worker, Veda's dedication to American Indian issues was acknowledged by the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in 1961 when they formally adopted her and gave her the name "Beneshiohgezhegokway" (Thunderbird Sky Woman).
In 1973 she was recognized by the National Indian Education Association for "outstanding and dedicated service". She went on to be recognized by several tribes, organizations, and governmental agencies for her work. Her list of accomplishments and awards is an extensive one, but still does not fully acknowledge the special way in which she touched the lives of all that knew her.
She came to UW-Eau Claire in 1976 after working at two other colleges. She founded the American Indian Program here, and worked tirelessly to bring more Indian students to campus and to improve the educational opportunities for them. She retired from UWEC in 1985, but stayed active in American Indian activities both on- and off-campus for many years afterward. Her home was a center of activity for many groups and individuals, from incoming freshman students, to college administrators, to Ada Deer, the head of the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs).
Veda passed on in January of 1996. She was 89 years old.