Dave Thayer was born on the Fond du Lac Reservation, part of Lake Superior Band of the Chippewa Tribe. The family lived in nearby Gordon, Wisconsin, where they were the single Native family in a white community. Dave has 8 siblings and 4 more from the extended family. He grew up between two families, some of whom live on the reservation of the Lac Courte Oreilles, Chippewa. His grandparents were very influential in Dave's growing years. They taught him the traditional ways of gathering wild rice, hunting, fishing, and trapping. His grandmother’s older sister regularly visited the family for months at a time. Dave’s Great Aunt had grown up in a time when the older traditional ways were still strong and Dave eagerly learned from her. Dave and his siblings faced daily discrimination but were supported by the strength of their traditions and family ties. After graduating high school and serving in the US Marine Corps Infantry, Dave worked as a barber for 10 years.
In 1960, Dave married Karen Thayer who began her work as an artist in the mid-1980s. Dave later moved to Oregon with his wife, Karen, where he trained as an optician, setting up his own offices in Portland and Aloha. Karen became well known for portraying the Native American people, especially women and children. Dave used his business acumen to support her successful career as a painter. Dave was a member of Native American Chamber of Commerce in Portland for ten years, where he participated in fundraising events, employment programs and other programs to support the general welfare of Native owned businesses.
After 51 years, Dave still works in optometry, working full time, repairing eyewear, optical loupes and jewelry. His advice to others is that success is based on hard work and acquiring good skills. Dave joined the Elderberry Wisdom Farm Board as a way to share his traditional knowledge and apply his professional experience in support of the valuable work of the organization.
Dr. Janice Cockrell
Dr Janice Cockrell is a pediatric rehabilitation physician. She graduated from Northwestern Medical School and is board certified in the specialties of pediatrics and physical medicine and rehabilitation. She was on the adjunct faculty of the Department of Pediatrics at Oregon Health Science University and Medical Director of the Department of Pediatric Development and Rehabilitation at Randall. Now retired, she is continuing her commitment to race equity and social justice, co-facilitating a race equity and social justice dialogue group in Lake Oswego for over four years. She has given lectures on race equity at peace conferences, led a workshop for Lake Oswego High School teachers on racism, consulted with other groups hoping to initiate social justice dialogues and is participating in Lake Oswego’s Respond to Racism dialogue. Her immense networking brought her to Elderberry Wisdom Farm.
Ms. Pam Volk is an educator and a positive community pillar. As a citizen of the world, she spent nearly two decades living in Guatemala, Norway and the Hawaiian Islands. She has supported and developed a multitude of communities. During her 15 years as a Spanish teacher, she supported immigrant families through food donation programs. She also translated interactions between school teachers and administrators. In retirement she is passionately dedicated to neighborhood and community development and creating beauty in the form of quilting as an artwork. Her years of experience, in celebrating cultures and communities, has guided her work to Elderberry Wisdom Farm, where she serves as Secretary.
Annette Mendoza-McCoy (Jumano Apache) has participated and supported in Traditional Native American teachings, ceremonies, practices, and communities for at least 25 years. Her strong, ever growing passion preserves and promotes indigenous community awareness to improve the wellbeing of all peoples and cultures. Professionally, she is a licensed marriage family therapist currently practicing in Ojai, California where she lives with her family. Her spiritual commitment to restoring ceremonial traditions and her professional work has brought her to Elderberry Wisdom Farm where she serves as Board Treasurer.