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Marvel Star from "Echo" Speaks to LCO Ojibwe School Students

By Frank Zufall

Sawyer County Record

On Friday, Feb. 9, students of the 3-5 grades LCO Ojibwe K-12 School had a visit from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Greeting the student in Ojibwe was Wren Zhawenim Gotts, a 4th grader, a member of the Mole Lake Tribe of Wisconsin, who plays a younger version of a character named Bonnie in the Marvel TV series “Echo.”

The TV series airs on Disney+ and Hulu.

Gotts appeared from Florida alongside her mother, Forest Rebecca Gotts.

The young actress was wearing traditional regalia after participating in a pow wow. She told the students that one of hobbies is fancy dancing.

Elementary teacher Tiffany Gidagaabineshiikwe Nelson organized the event. The call came about because Nelson said Forest and herself have a mutual friend who teaches at the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) Summer Camp where young people learn traditional Native American skills. Forest was also familiar with LCO’s language immersion school, Waadookodaading.

Wren was picked for an audition for ‘Echo’ after executives of the show saw videos of her speaking Ojibwe.

Before Wren appeared on screen, all the elementary students prepared themselves with the traditional smudging and a small offering of tobacco, and Nelson reminded of them how they were to be polite and respectful Ojibwe students, and for the most part, the students were excited to meet Wren and polite.

“It’s really fun,” said Wren of her acting career that includes two credits. “I had no idea I was ever going to get an acting career like this, but I did, and it’s really fun because on set they treat us nicely, and we get really nice food and the teachers are really nice.”

Wren, who has been homeschooled, has to engage with teachers hired by the production company while on set. Her schoolroom includes an RV trailer in Georgia where “Echo” is filmed.

She talked about how she was picked for the audition after she had made several videos of herself using the Ojibwe language.

“They were looking for a native person who could speak their native language,” she said, “and they found me and asked me if I could be in it (‘Echo’), and at first we thought it was a scam, and then he talked some more and I was asked to audition.”

For her audition, Wren read some lines and also had to do some sign language because the lead actor, Alaqua Cox, who plays Maya Lopez, is deaf and communicates in character and in real life with sign language.

(Cox, 26, is a member of the Menomonie and Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans of Wisconsin. She had acted in the prequel to ‘Echo” in Marvel series “Hawkeye.”)

Wren said her life now includes auditioning for different parts, including a special with PBS where she had to go to New York and sing and dance for a production that will be aired in July, but she couldn’t share any more information.

Nelson asked Wren if she had gotten to meet any famous actors.

“The cast (“Echo”) is mostly Native American,” she said. “It includes Devery Jacobs (“Reservation Dogs”) and Graham Greene (“Dances With Wolves”).”

Wren said she liked doing the sign language and liked that the show featured Native American actors in Native American roles.

Nelson complimented the production for hiring Native Americans for the production.

Forest said some productions are very sensitive to Native American culture and have asked for advice on what regalia to wear.

Nelson said it would be a good assignment for her students to write papers on the proper regalia.




The students introduced themselves in Ojibwe and offered their clan. One of the students was overcome with excitement to find out that Wren was the same clan as her — Crane or Ajijaak.

“How does it feel to be an actor,” asked one of the young men.

“It’s feels amazing and I’m very lucky to be an actor, and it’s really fun to be a child actor because they treat us well.”

Another student asked Wren what she has to do for an audition. Wren said she typically has to memorize between 4-6 pages of dialogue.

Nelson asked Wren what was her favorite part of the series. Wren said the creation story in the series “beautiful” where the creations turn into humans.

Nelson told the student that “Echo” is made for mature audiences because of the fighting and violence, and if they wanted to watch the show they had to watch it with an adult.

Wren said one of the special experiences from “Echo” was being given a prop stuffed animal.

Another student asked how long it took her to drive to set and Wren said they didn’t drive but were flown in an airplane.

She was asked what sports she liked and Wren said hockey, La Crosse and dancing, including fancy dancing, and for fun she likes to draw and ride her bike.

She was asked if she made money from her acting. Wren said all the money she earns is kept in a trust for her education when she turns 18.

Another asked Wren if she had a mansion.

“No actually, but that’s part of my future plans,” she said.

At the end of questioning, Wren noted that she and her mother planned on visiting the LCO school in person and the students were very excited.

When the questions were over, the students rushed the screen to get as close to Wren as possible and they waved goodbye and she waved back.


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