Spc. Lula Lemieux, also known as Mahnk Ska Jaing, embodies the spirit of resilience and cultural diversity within the Minnesota National Guard. At the age of 17, she enlisted as a human resource specialist because of the educational benefits the Minnesota National Guard provided. She also wanted to help educate Soldiers about their benefits.
In a close-knit organization, Lemieux appreciates the interconnectedness of the National Guard, fostering camaraderie through shared experiences across units. Her sense of belonging extends beyond military service to her rich heritage.
Her roots trace back to Tomah, Wisconsin, where she embraced the traditions of the Ho-Chunk Nation, her grandmother’s and father’s Tribe. Due to Lemieux’s ancestry, she is enrolled in her grandfather’s Tribe, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Negotiating the complexities of dual Tribal affiliations, Lemieux shares the challenges of preserving traditions in the face of differing expectations. Her personal journey reflects the expectations of her father’s Tribe’s traditional customs with the more contemporary lifestyle of her grandfather’s Tribe.
The name given to Lemieux, Mahnk Ska Jaing, or White Breast, represents the white spot on a bear’s chest and a connection to nature. The chief of the Bear Clan bestowed the name upon her after a spiritual journey.
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