Walking On as listed in the December 2018 NFIC

Arizona, Window Rock – A funeral service for Harrison Yazzie, 65, of Pine Springs, was held Nov. 2, 2018 at the Window Rock Christian reformed Church.  Harrison was born Dec. 29, 1953, in Fort Defiance, into the Honaghaahnii (One-walks-around Clan), born for Kiyaa’aanii (Towering House Clan).  Harrison passed away Oct. 29, 2018, in Flagstaff.

Harrison is survived by his spouse, Denise Williams Yazzie; sons, Westley Davis and Harris “Colby” Yazzie, Tye Browne, and Farin Begay; daughter, Delilah Browne Yazzie; brothers, Paul and Peterson Yazzie, and Rodger Frank; sisters, Elizabeth Ashley, Cecelia Benally, Helen Aseret, and Alice Yellowhair; and 10 grandchildren.  He is preceded in death by his parents, Katherine and Steven Yazzie; and grandparents, Mary and John Six.

Harrison attended the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 640 Apprenticeship Trade School in Phoenix and was employed with IBEW 640 for 35 years. (Navajo Times, November 1, 2018)

Arizona, St. Michaels – Funeral service for Laurice A. Price, 46, of Fort Defiance was held Nov. 3, 2018 at the Mary, Mother of Mankind Church in St. Michaels.  Interment followed at the family plot in Fort Defiance.  Laurice was born June 26, 1972, in Fort Defiance, into the Tabaaha (Water’s Edge Clan), born for Tl’aashchi’I (Red Bottom People Clan).  Laurice passed away Oct. 31, 2018, in Gallup.

Laurice is survived by her brother, Lorne A. Price; sisters, Lorinda Roanhorse and Lenora Whippi; and three grandchildren.  She is preceded in death by her parents, Dorothy and Lorenzo Price; and grandparents, Ruth and Dean Hickman. (Navajo Times, November 8, 2018)

Arizona, Fort Defiance – Funeral service for Tyrone Michael Allen Nez Sr., 39, of Fort Defiance, was held Nov. 10, 2018 at the Family Church Assembly of God in Fort Defiance.  Burial followed in Fort Defiance. Tyrone was born July 2, 1979, in Gallup, into Ashiihi (Salt People Clan), born for Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan). Tyrone passed away Nov. 3, 2018 in Phoenix.

Tyrone is survived by his sons, Tremahn, Trevon, Zavion, Julien Nez and Tyrone Nez Jr.; parents, Carolyn Bailey, Mike Nez;, and Helena Peshlakai-Nez; brothers, Christopher, Donovan, Marco Derrick, and Delbert Nez; sisters, Twila Dickson, Moriko, Delia, and Elizabeth Nez; grandparents, Nellie Wiedmeyer and Daniel Atcitty Sr.; and four grandchildren.  He is preceded in death by Lillian R. Atcitty and Monieka Monta Nez.

Tyrone attended the University of Arizona.  He was an artist, tattoo artist, and master gardener. (Navajo Times, November 8, 2018)

Arizona, St. Michaels – Funeral services for Laurice A. Price, 46, of Fort Defiance, were held Nov. 3, 2018 at the Mary, Mother of Mankind Church in St. Michaels.  Interment followed at the family plot in Fort Defiance.  Laurice was born June 26, 1972, in Fort Defiance, into the Tabaaha (Water’s Edge Clan), born for Tl’aashchi’i (Red Bottom People Clan).  Laurice passed away Oct. 31, 2018, in Gallup.

Laurice is survived by her brother, Lorne A. Price; sisters, Lorinda Roanhorse and Lenora Whippi; and three grandchildren.  She is preceded in death by her parents, Dorothy and Lorenzo Price; and grandparents, Ruth and Dean Hickman. (Navajo Times, November 8, 2018)

Minnesota, Prairie Island Indian CommunityArt Owen, “Sung Ska Natan”, “His White Horse Charges”, 68, passed away Oct. 27, 2018.  Art was born Dec. 7, 1949 to Amos and Ione Owen in Red Wing, MN. Services were already held.

Art enlisted in the Army and served in the Vietnam War.  When returned home he attended the University of Minnesota and London School of Economics where he studied political science. Art was the spiritual leader of the Prairie Island Indian Community. One of his biggest accomplishments was helping to recover a sacred peace pipe given by a Dakota chief named Sunka Ska (White Dog) to a U.S. soldier after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.  Art oversaw ceremonies to restore it to the community.  He also fought to change the names of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis  and Barn Bluff in Red Wing to their Dakota names, which he did by building bridges though education. (Star Tribune, November 23, 2018)

Minnesota, Red Lake – A wake began Nov. 3, 2018 and continued until traditional services Nov. 5, 2018 for Keith Wayne Lussier Sr., “Waa-Waash Binesi”, “Swift Bird”, 63, of the Eagle Clan and Red Lake, MN., were held at the Redby Community Center in Redby, MN.  Interment followed at the Lussier family burial site at Red Lake.  Keith was born Apr. 2, 1955 to Marcella (StandingCloud) and William Lussier Sr., in Minneapolis, MN.  Keith passed away Nov. 1, 2018 at home.

Keith is survived by his wife, Polly Lussier; daughters, Clarissa and Rose Lussier; sons, Robert Lussier Sr., and Keith Lussier Jr.; grandchildren, Paul Lee, Rick, Darin, Westin, Lindsey, KaeLeigh, Lily, Keith III, John, Lucille, Robert Jr., Michael, LaRissa, Caylah, Cereena, Ivan, Amaya, Andrea and Elijah; great-grandchildren, Alayna and Aria; special niece, Money Woman Stately; other nieces and nephews and many friends. He is preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Wilma and Laura Lussier and Linda Lachner; nephews, Jason Lussier and Johnson BrownEagle and other relatives.

Keith was the Chairman of the Grand Governing Counsel of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the Chairman of the Northern Eagle AIM Chapter of Red Lake. (The Red Lake Nation, November 9, 2018)

Minnesota, Red Lake – A wake began Nov. 6, 2018 and continued until traditional services on Nov. 8, 2018 for Dorothy “Dot” Wilma Cobenais, “Azha waa shik”, “Crossing Over” 73, of the Bear Clan and Redby, MN., were held at the New Redby Community Center in Redby, MN. Interment followed in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery at Red Lake, MN.  Dorothy was born Apr. 30, 1945 to Dorothy Roy and William Oakgrove in Red Lake, MN.  Dorothy passed away Nov. 2, 2018 at the Red Lake HIS Hospital in Red Lake, MN.

Dorothy is survived by her sons, Myron (Crystal) Cobenais Sr., Michael (LeeAnn) Cobenais and Gary Cobenais; sister, Sharolyn Ramsey; special granddaughter, Andi Cobenais; 15 grandkids, 15 great-grandkids; niece, Jackie Ramsey; goddaughter, Dion Kelly; many relatives and friends.  She is preceded in death by her husband, Duane Cobenais Sr.; son, Duane Cobenais Jr.; parents; granddaughters, Mikey Jo Cobenais, Noelle and Michelana Roy; nephew, Richard Ramsey Jr.; and aunt, Philomene Oakgrove.

Dorothy attended Small Business Administrative Classes in Chicago, IL.  She worked as crew leader for the YCC Program and a member of the Red Lake School Board and also at the Red Lake Food Distribution and Housing.  She formed the Helping Hands Committee in Redby District and was the Director of the Elderly Nutrition Program. (The Red Lake Nation, November 9, 2018)

Minnesota, Red Lake – A wake for Georgia “Georgie” Lee (May) Roy, 63, of Red Lake, MN began on Nov. 9, 2018 and continued until her funeral services on Nov. 11, 2018 held at the New Little Rock Community Center in Red Lake.  Interment followed in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.  Georgia was born Apr. 26, 1955 to Margaret (Sumner) and Phillip May Sr. in Red Lake, MN.  Georgia passed away Nov. 6, 2018 at the Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, ND.

Georgia is survived by her husband, Bruce Roy; sons, Henry (Brooke) Jr., Phillip (Darcy) Sr. Sayers; daughters, Eileen (Will) and Merri Jo (Jon) Sayers; brothers, Gerald Sr., Phillip Jr., Tom Sr. and Darrell May, Sr.; sisters, Ramona, Vickie, Melvina and Carla May and Elgene Lasley; special grandson, Jerricho Redeagle; 21 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, and relatives and friends.  She is preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Ned, Peter and Clement May; grandson, Baby Hank; uncles, Dumpy and John Sumner; niece, Marilayne May and grandparents.

Georgia worked at the Red Lake Casino and as a Para at the Early Childhood Center. (The Red Lake Nation, November 20, 2018)

Minnesota, Red Lake – A wake began Nov. 12, 2018 and continued until the Traditional services for Lynette “Neddy” Sue Tyler, “Awanikwe”, “Fogwoman”, 69, of Red Lake were held Nov. 14, 2018 at the Red Lake Center.  Interment followed St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Red Lake.  Lynette was born Sept. 18, 1949 to Benedict and Mary (Prentice) Lawrence.  Lynette passed away Nov. 8, 2018 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

Lynette is survived by her sons, John Lee Tyler J., William, Ben, Marcus (Sabrina) Allen Tyler Sr.; daughters, Ceceilia and Gloria Tyler and Trudy (Chris) Jourdain and special daughter, Amelia “Mimi” Tyler; 26 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild; sisters, Judy (Victor) Roy, Lisa (Earl) Thomas, Benita Lawrence, Davette Mason; brother Francis Lawrence; numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Harold and Gerard “Gary” Lawrence; granddaughter, Kaitlyn Marie Tyler; grandson, James Anthony Tyler; nephew, Brian Lawrence; special son, Clarence Sayers Jr., and nephew, Anthony Chosa.

Lynette attended Bemidji State University and graduated with an associate degree in early childhood education. She worked at Red Lake Gaming, Red Lake Equay Wiigamig (women’s shelter), Red Lake Headstart and retired in 2018 from the Red Lake Immersion program. (The Red Lake Nation, November 20, 2018)

Minnesota, Red Lake – A wake began Nov. 15, 2018 and continued until funeral services Nov. 16, 2018 for Almeda Rose (Lussier) Strong, 81, of the Bear Clan and Redby, MN., were held at the New Redby Community Center in Redby MN.  Interment followed at the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery at Red Lake, MN.  Almeda was born Dec. 18, 1936 to Isadore and Rose (King) Lussier.  Almeda passed away Nov. 12, 2018 at the Sanford Hospital in Bemidji, MN.

Almeda is survived by her children, Clayton (Luanne) Strong Sr., Winona (Jim) Dudley and Peter (Mary) Strong Jr.; siblings, Thelberta Lussier, Barbara Vasquez, Doyla Lussier, Jackie DeFoe, Lamonte Lussier and Joseph Thunder; grandchildren, Stephen, Clayton Jr., Floris, Floyd, Ron, Joe, Harrison, Derek, Rick and Dillon; great-grandchildren, Sean, Shane, Chase, Amera, Miles, Clayton III, Kiana, Jerrell, Lilah, Jayla, Ramena, Kachine, Patrick, Silas, Lorna, Harrison Jr., Robyn, Garrick, Arianne, Aaliyah, Paige, Aries, Tyrell, Andrew, Raelee, Areyanna, Nakiah, Sheanna, Tayvon and Ahniyah; and one great-great-granddaughter; many nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and friends.  She is preceded in death by her parents; daughter, Lennette Rose Strong; brother, “Wishie” Thunder; grandchildren, Peter William Strong III and James Robert Dudley Jr.; great-grandchildren, Aiden Harvey Strong; twin boys, Dee and Carmen, and Gavin LaDuke.

Almeda attended Haskell Institute in Lawrence, KS. Almeda worked for Comp Health for more than 20 years before working as the Director of ENP.  She also worked as a Gift Shop Manager and Seven Clans Casino and the Head Start Program as a cook and after going back to school she learned how to care for special needs children and then became a Special Education Teacher’s Aide. (The Red Lake Nation, November 20, 2018)

New Mexico, Gallup – Funeral service for Larry A. Jones, 70, of Mentmore, NM., was held Nov. 1, 2018 at Rollie Mortuary Palm Chapel in Gallup.  Burial followed at Sunset Memorial Park in Gallup.  Larry was born Jan. 4, 1948, in Rocky Point, NM., into the Kinyaa’aanii (Towering House Clan), born for Tl’ogi (Hairy Ones/Weaver-Zia Clan).  His nali is Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water); chei is Tabaaha (Water’s Edge). Larry passed away Oct. 29, 2018 in Albuquerque.

Larry is survived by his son, Robert “Ziggy” Jones; daughters, Kathleen  and Yolanda Jones; mother, Elizabeth Tom; stepfather, George E. Tom; brothers, Henry and Joseph Haley, and Dan Jones; and four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Larry attended Vo-Tech School for auto body and graduated for Haskell Indian Junior College.  He worked for Gurley Motors Body Shop and did labor/maintenance for his community in Mentmore. (Navajo Times, November 1, 2018)

New Mexico, Gallup – A memorial service for Jennifer Haley, 52, was held Nov. 2, 2018 at the Rollie Mortuary Chapel in Gallup.  Burial followed at the Gallup City Cemetery.  Jennifer was born Feb. 5, 1966, in McKinley County, NM., into the Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People Clan), born for Kinyaa’aanii (Towering House Clan). Her nali is Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water); chei is Tachii’nii (Red Running Into the Water People). Jennifer passed away Oct. 20, 2018 in Albuquerque.

Jennifer is survived by her son, Steven Thomas; daughter, Danielle Haley; parents, Bessie and Tom David; sisters, Linda Frank Supka, Geneva Frank Yellowhair, Roberta David, Anita Benally, Genevieve Edwards, and Bertha Davis; and grandchildren, Nellie Rae Skeets and Isaiah Christopher Haley.  She is preceded in death by her brothers, Bobby Mark and Clinton Frank; and grandmother, Bah Hoskie.

Jennifer was a self-employed artist.  She served 10 years as chairman of AA Serenity House in Gallup, serving as chairperson of the AA group, Wings of the Storm. (Navajo Times, November 1, 2018)

New Mexico, Gallup – Funeral mass for Danny Begay, 73, was held Oct. 30, 2018 at the Sacred heart Cathedral in Gallup.  Interment followed at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Gallup.  Danny was born Sept. 18, 1945, Crownpoint.  Danny passed away Oct. 24, 2018, in Church Rock, NM.

Danny is survived by his daughters, Michelle Frank, Naiwah Standing Bear, Danielle and Martha Begay; and sons, Brannon and Onan Begay.  He is preceded in death by his wife, Martha C. Begay; mother, Martha Begay and sons, James Pioche Jr. and Marty Begay.  

Danny served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a sergeant in Vietnam and worked as an aviation structural mechanic. (Navajo Times, November 1, 2018)

New Mexico, Gallup – Funeral services for Larson McCork, 33, were held Nov. 2, 2018 at Rollie Mortuary in Gallup.  Interment followed at the Sunset Cemetery in Gallup. Larson was born Aug. 4, 1985, into the Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People Clan), born for Tachii’nii (Red Running Into the Water People Clan).  Larson passed away Oct. 27, 2018.

Larson is survived by his parents, Rena and Larry McCork; sisters, Gena and Sherry McCork; brother, Terry McCork; and four children, Larinda McCork, Larson McCork Jr., Laren McCork, and Laramie McCork.  He is preceded in death by his sister, Sharon McCork; nali, Lee McCork; and grandparents, Elizabeth Garcia and Kee John Garcia Sr. (Navajo Times, November 8, 2018)

New Mexico, Gallup – Funeral services for Virgil Woody Spencer, 36, were held Nov. 9, 2018 at Rollie Mortuary in Gallup.  Burial followed at the Gallup City Cemetery.  Virgil was born Apr. 22, 1982, into the Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for Dziltl’ahnii (Mountain Cove Clan).  His nalis are Rachel B. and Sam Joe Spencer; cheis are Lloyd and Marie Baldwin.  Virgil passed away Nov. 3, 2018, in Purty Rock, Mentmore, NM.

Virgil is survived by his father, Woody Spencer; and daughter, Hope Spencer. He is preceded in death by his mother, Arlene Spencer; and brother, Lloyd Spencer. (Navajo Times, November 8, 2018)

New Mexico, Milan – A memorial service for Bill (William) Peck, 68, of Milan was held Nov. 9, 2018 at the Grace Baptist Church.

Bill is survived by his daughter, Katrina Peck; mother-in-law, Lenore Cain; and siblings (his and wife’s).  He is preceded in death by his parents, Buchard and Faye Peck; stepmother, Helen Peck; and family and friends. (Navajo Times, November 8, 2018)

New Mexico, Gallup – Funeral services for Annie B. Sandoval, 85, were held Nov. 9, 2018 at Rollie Mortuary in Gallup.  Burial followed at the Gallup City Cemetery.  Annie was born July 11, 1933, in Fort Defiance, into the Ashiihi (Salt People Clan), born for Tachii’nii (Red Running Into the Water People Clan).  Her chei is Bit’ahnii (Folded Arms).  Annie passed away Nov. 4, 2018, in Albuquerque.

Annie is survived by her sons, Danny Sandoval Jr. and Samuel Sandoval; daughters, Carol, Judith, and Christine Sandoval; brothers, Robert Betonie and Stanley Thompson; and sister, Lorreta Begay.  She is preceded in death by her husband, Danny Sandoval Sr.; son, Daniel Sandoval; daughter, Connie Sandoval; mother, Cecilia B. Thompson; brother, Johnny Betonie; and granddaughter, Racheal Sandoval. (Navajo Times, November 8, 2018)

New Mexico, Counselor – Graveside service for Mary H. Dennison, 84, was held Nov. 9, 2018 at the Counselor cemetery.  Mary was born May 15, 1934, in Counselor, into the Hashk’aa hadzohi (Yucca Fruit-Strung-Out-In-A-Line Clan), born for Tsenabahilnii (Sleep Rock People Clan).  Mary passed away Nov. 1, 2018 in Rio Rancho, NM.

Mary is survived by her daughters, Daisy and Ella Dennison; sister, Cha’pah Pinto; and 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.  Mary is preceded in death by her mother, Haz de baa Herrera; father, Mariano Herrera; husband, Willie Dennison; sons, Willie Dennison Jr. and Alex Dennison; sister, Louise Sala; and granddaughter, McKenzie Martinez. (Navajo Times, November 8, 2018)
 
New Mexico, Tinian – Funeral services for Ruth Ann Lewis, 83, of Rincon Marquis, NM were held Nov. 17, 2018 at the Tinian Baptist Church. Burial followed in Rincon Marquis.  Ruth was born Mar. 15, 1935 in Rincon Marquis, into the Naakai dine’e (Mexican Clan), born for Dziltl’ahnii (Mountain Cove Clan).  Ruth passed away Nov. 9, 2018 in Rincon Marquis.

Ruth is survived by her husband, Herbert R. Lewis; son, Michael Lewis; daughters, Patsy Gibson, Marilynn Sandoval, Jacqueline Toledo, and Sherri Shorty; sisters, Annie S. Yazzie, Esther A. Lewis, and Lita Arviso; and 17 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.  She is preceded in death by her parents, Werito and Grace M. Sandoval; sisters, Mary W. Sandoval and Julia Benally; and brothers, Richard, Jerry, Leonaard and Bill Sandoval. (Navajo Times, November 15, 2018)

New Mexico, Gallup – Funeral services for Johnny R. Dick Kercheva, 76, were held Nov. 16, 2018 at the Lighthouse Church.  Burial followed at the Gallup City Cemetery.  Johnny was born Oct. 7, 1942, into the Kinyaa’aanii (Towering House Clan), born for Todik’ozhi (Salt Water Clan).  His nali is Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People): chei is Tabaaha (Water’s Edge).  Johnny passed away Nov. 10, 2018.

Johnny is survived by his wife, Gladys Kercheva; sons, Robert Goldtooth, Jonathan and Donovan Kercheva; daugthers, Valentina Martin and Dianabelle Kercheva; sisters, Irene Dick, Lavee James, and Carol Dick; and brother, Eddie Rodriguez. He is preceded in death by his parents, Mary and John Dick; and brother, Roy Dick.

Johnny worked construction as a carpenter and was a silversmith. (Navajo Times, November 15, 2018)

Wisconsin, Hayward - Tribal Funeral Rites for Selma Buckwheat, “Sagamaakwe”, 82, of Green Bay were held. Burial will be in New Post Cemetery.  Selma was born Oct. 28, 1936 in Hayward, WI to Henry and Agnes (Barber) Smith. Selma passed away Nov. 7, 2018 at Bishop’s Court in Green Bay.

She is survived by her husband, Larry R. Buckwheat; son, Larry (Donna) Buckwheat; daughter, Leanne Buckwheat; grandchildren, Stephanie, Kevin, Cami & Daniel Buckwheat; great grandson, Brayden Buckwheat; brothers, Henry Smith, Donald (Carol) Smith, John Smith, Thomas Smith & Lawrence Smith; many nephews & nieces.  Selma was preceded in death by her parents Henry & Agnes; sisters Myrtle & Doris; brothers Edward, William, Robert and Theodore.

Selma worked many years volunteering knowledge of Native Culture for UW Green Bay, Saint Norbert College and various public schools around the area of Green Bay.

Wisconsin, Hayward - The Funeral Service for Shirley M. Martin, age 70, of Hayward, WI. was held, Nov. 13, 2018 at Pineview Funeral Service in Hayward.  Shirley was born July 26, 1948 in Springfield, OH to Arnold and Della (Whittaker) Curvin. Shirley passed away Nov. 8, 2018 at University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Shirley is survived by her sons, Larry (Laura) Pack, David Belille Sr.; daughters, Cheryl (Randy Sr.) Alexander, Christina (Scott Humer) Lyles; grandchildren, Randy Jr., Tashina & Jacob Alexander, Dylan & Shelby Pack, Jarrod Yoak, and Rachel & David Belille Jr.; and 13 great grandchildren; many nieces & nephews.  She is preceded in death by her parents; 1st husband, David “Studie” Belille; 2nd husband, Joseph Martin; sisters, Barbara & Patricia.

Wisconsin, Hayward - Midewiwin Funeral Rites for Thomas DeWayne Hammer Sr.,‘” Niizhoo-gwaneb”,“Two Feathers”, 48, of Stone Lake, were held November 9, 2018 at Big Drum Ceremonial Center in Lac Courte Oreilles. Burial was in Historyland Cemetery in Hayward. Thomas was born Dec. 20, 1969 in Milwaukee, WI to DeWayne Sr. and Marjorie (Sharlow) Hammer.  Thomas passed away Nov. 5, 2018.

Thomas is survived by his sons, Thomas Hammer Jr., Francis Hammer and Kaden Martin; daughters, Jaymie Hammer and Jazzie Martin-Hammer; five grandchildren; brother, DeWayne Hammer Jr.; sister, Elizabeth “Nana” Knaack; niece, Andrea Vonckx; and nephews, DeWayne Hammer III and Helmet Hammer.  He is preceded in death by his parents; grandparents, Rita Lemieux and Walter “Bud” Sharlow; baby sister, Vanessa; aunts & uncles.

Tom grew up in the Reserve Community of the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation. He lived and worked in numerous cities including Milwaukee, WI, Bad River, WI, St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN, and Palm Beach, FL. Tom was an ultimate handy-man, a self-taught mechanic.

Wisconsin, CrandonMichael James Dunnington, 51, passed away Nov. 5, 2018 in Fort Myers, Fla.  

Michael is survived by his son, Cody Michael Dunnington; mother, Mary Ritchie; father, James W. Dunnington; and brothers, Wesley and Matthew Dunnington.  He is preceded in death by his grandmother, Verol M. Ritchie Tyler; great-grandfather, Valentine Ritchie; and great-great-grandfather, Henry Ritchie.

Michael served with the 101st Airborne Division in the U.S. Army in Desert Storm.  He was a helicopter maintenance mechanic. (Potawatomi Traveling Times, November 15, 2018)

North Carolina, Big CoveAmanda Sequoyah Swimmer, 97,  passed away Nov. 24, 2018 at her home in the Big Cove community in the federal land trust known as the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.  Amanda was born to RunningWolfe and Molly (Davis) Sequoyah.  Amanda married Luke Swimmer.

Amanda is survived by her daughters, Marilyn and Marina Swimmer and Flora Bradley; sons, Don and Virgil; granddaughter, Melvena; 30 other grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

Amanda was forced to attend boarding school as a national effort to assimilate her into the mainstream culture. In fourth grade she ran away because of being punished for speaking her native Cherokee. She fashioned a life to preserve the Cherokee culture and keeping its language and pottery traditions alive. She was revered in the mountainous tribal lands of western North Carolina – honored there as a “Beloved Woman” – and renowned as one of her people’s most skilled potters.  Mrs. Swimmer’s work has been shown at the Smithsonian in Washington, the North Carolina State Museum and at local museums across North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. It was also featured in the 2011 book “Cherokee Pottery: From the Hands of Our Elders,” by M. Anna Fariello.  Mrs. Swimmer was profiled in a 2000 documentary film, “Women of These Hills – Three Cultures of Appalachia.”  

In 2005, as an octogenarian, she was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree by the University of North Carolina, Asheville, for her work in preserving Cherokee heritage and her role in founding the Cherokee Potter’s Guild.  Her other honors include the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award and the Mountain Heritage Award of the Western Carolina University.  Mrs. Swimmer was not considered a citizen under law at the time of her birth. She only became a citizen after passage of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.

Mrs. Swimmer was known for her pottery.  She took up pottery as a child after she discovered the clay near her home.  She and her mother sold pots to tourists and park rangers.  She was nominated for the title of “Beloved Woman,” and honor given by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to highly respected elders.  In her last years Mrs. Swimmer spent much of her time teaching – both pottery-making and the Cherokee language.  

For 10 years she was a volunteer at the Cherokee Elementary School, where she taught children pottery and told them stories about their culture and history.  She had an impact on the whole tribal nation.  Everybody called her grandmother. (New York Times, December 10, 2018)


 

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