Verde ‘Vern’ Van Halley, Cherokee and Tewa, was born January 2, 1930, and died July 21, 2020, at 6:40 p.m. at the Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was 90 years, seven months, and 19 days old. He celebrated his 90th birthday on January 2nd.

Halley was the first vice president of the American Indian Society in Washington D.C. That organization was formed in August 1966. Halley was a close friend to fellow officers Karen Collins Mitchell Bush. Halley also had countless friends due to his work with the organization. He was well-known and loved by many in his community.

Bush was a founder and a former 25-year president of the American Indian Society.

(Related: President and Inaugural Ball Founder Mitchell Bush Has Died At 82)

Halley was an Air Force veteran who served in Greenland and then worked and retired from the AT&T telephone company. He was a performer and instructor of many types of traditional Native dances and attended pow wows of many regional tribes on the East Coast for decades.

He served on many AIS committees and had multiple friends within the American Indian Society, D.C. in Washington, D.C. He appeared in several TV movies and was a member of the Annunciation Church in Ladysmith, Virginia.

Verde ''Vern'' Van Halley

Halley was and had two sons, George and Calvin Halley. George lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Calvin lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Many friends and family remember the close friendship between Vern and Mitchell. Many have already said Vern and Mitchell are already spending time together on the other side.

As written by the American Indians Society of Washington, D.C, “Our Vern was all. We loved him greatly. But best of all, we called him a friend.”

Halley’s memorial service and burial were held on Saturday, August 8th, at the Indian Pines Cemetery in Ruther Glenn, Virginia.

He was buried alongside his lifelong friend Mitchell Bush. 

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Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, is the associate editor of Indian Country Today. He has an obsession with creating media, technology, computers, comics and all genres of movies. You can follow him on Twitter at @VinceSchilling. Email is

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