Susanna S. Shreeve, known to her friends in Cody as Su Child, died in the early evening of June 25, 2020, the day after her 86th birthday, at the Cody Regional Hospital Long Term Care Center, where she had been cared for since July 2019.
Born June 24, 1934, to Ormel Shreeve and JoAnne Seelye Shreeve in Dallas, Ore., Su was the eldest of three sisters, Karin Tadjiki of Bend, Ore., and Machiel Moore of San Angelo, Texas.
Su always focused on bringing peoples and cultures together through dance and the arts. She obtained a BA in Dance from Mills College and then earned an elementary teaching certificate through an experimental program sponsored by the Ford Foundation and San Francisco State.
She also received Montessori teacher training and taught in Montessori schools for some years, as well as being certified to teach English as a second language. Teaching reading, writing and spoken English to primarily Black Ebonics and Spanglish speaking learners was her delight – and going on to teach ESL to international students and tribal/reservation students “broadened her experience.”
In 1970, Su participated in the first bilingual education summer session involving Native American languages at Oregon State College, with representatives of nations west of the Mississippi. Elders in that group encouraged Su to get a graduate degree and work in Urban Indian education. Su went on to obtain a Master’s Degree in Confluent Education from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1989. In the following decades,
Su worked extensively with the Santa Barbara area Chumash tribe, as the first Indian Education Coordinator under the American Indian Health and Services department in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Su moved to Cody in 2006 to live with a sister and continued her efforts toward Indian inclusion with the Crow, Shoshone and Arapahoe tribes. Su’s middle name, Seelye, her mother’s maiden name, is Ojibwe and Su longed to visit Seelye relatives in Bemidji, Minn., for a Naming Ceremony she had been offered. Due to her declining health, it was not to be.
In the last decade of her life, Su’s passion was focused on including American Indian curriculum in schools. Through her local “CIA” – Contemporary Indian Awareness – effort, she contributed to local and statewide awareness of the importance of conscious, informed daily inclusion of American Indians in today’s society through various forms of media communication.
Su tirelessly developed programs, seminars, gatherings and art exhibits all over Cody Country, and distributing countless copies of Native publications such as “Indian Country” and the magazine of the National Museum of the American Indian, as well as the yearly American Indian Heritage Month poster. She wrote numerous letters in support of the change of name from Devil’s Tower to Mato Tipila, as well as hosting discussion groups and providing exhibits.
In the last several years, she managed a group on LinkedIn with over 14,000 contacts to facilitate discussion amongst others who were undertaking Indian Awareness work. The knowledge that Indian Education for All curriculum will go into effect in all Wyoming public schools was an abiding comfort to her in her last months.
As a dance student and child of the ’60s in California, Su became an ardent student of William Samuel’s metaphysical philosophy. She attended many classes and seminars and Samuel became a dear friend and mentor to her. She has been instrumental in preserving recorded lectures for future Samuel students.
Her Indian mentor was Clarence “Curly Bear” Wagner, a tribal scholar of the Blackfeet tribe. Meeting him in Cody and supporting him in his work during his frequent visits here as a Plains Indian Museum Advisory Board Member, Su finally understood the “why” behind her move to Cody.
Su leaves many, many friends throughout the Cody Community, and is survived by her two sisters, three nephews and a niece.
Su’s friends and family will always be grateful to the doctors, nurses and staff at the Long Term Care Center for their dedicated care.
Cremation has taken place. A service honoring her memory and “walking on” will be held later this summer.