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Keetoowah Cherokees mourn Hastings Shade

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The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma join together to mourn the death of Cherokee traditionalist Hastings Shade.

“Hastings was a traditionalist who was respected by all Keetoowah Cherokee children, adults and elders. We as a tribe have the highest esteem for him. We don’t discriminate tribal affiliation, we value all our Cherokee people,” said United Keetoowah Band Chief George Wickliffe.

Shade was involved with the Keetoowah Cherokee on many different levels. First and foremost, he was a Keetoowah Cherokee language instructor whose classes in basic and intermediate Keetoowah Cherokee were always well attended and popular.

He was involved in many culture camps that the Keetoowah Cherokee sponsored. The UKB tribe also funded several master-apprentice programs where Hastings taught fish gig making. “The Keetoowah Cherokee want to ensure that many of our basic crafts and lifeways continue long after the elders have gone,” Wickliffe said.

Ensuring the old ways were continued was central to Shade as well. Several years ago, he was one of the only known makers of Cherokee marbles, so he taught Keetoowah Cherokee Sam L. Still how to make them. In turn, after the Keetoowah Cherokees received a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council for their master-apprentice program, Still taught Dennis Sixkiller and Ed Fields how to make marbles.

A storyteller by nature, Shade was a charter member of a Cherokee storytelling group, “The Turtle Island Liars Club.” He also participated in starting the Youth and Elders Camp, which evolved into the Seven Clans of the Fire Camp.

“Just as our past great leaders, such as John Ross, the first ever principal chief of the original Cherokee Nation and Sequoyah, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians will always honor Hastings Shade, and I believe I speak for all Cherokee people as well,” Wickliffe said.

Shade is survived by his wife Loretta, of the home, three sons; Larry Shade, Thomas Shade and Ronnie Shade, several grandchildren, extended family, and many, many friends.