Viola Sutton Hatch

Viola Sutton Hatch was born on February 12, 1930 to Arapaho Chief Arthur Sutton and Sallie Blackbear Sutton on her grandmothers’ allotment near Geary, Oklahoma. She was given the Arapaho name Wo’teenii’ ehisei (Blackbird Woman). She died on April 22, 2019 at her home with family. She was married to Don Hatch, Sr. on June 5th, 1954, and they made their home south of Canton on the Red Face allotment.

Viola is survived by her children Sue And David Silcott of Longdale, Hollie and Duke Youngbear of Watonga, Buddy and Blanca Hatch of the home; her grandchildren Brian Fielder, Regina Youngbear, Carl Fielder, Melanie Youngbear, Nikki Hatch, Adam Youngbear and Darren Silcott; two step-grandchildren; sixteen great-grandchildren; brother Arapaho Chief Allen Sutton; sisters, Nancy Sutton, Lavonta Kenrick, Wilda Gould, Ava Sutton Benson and Marcella Armijo; many nieces, nephews, adopted sons, daughters and grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Don Hatch; brothers Arapaho Chief Billy Sutton and Arthur Sutton; sisters, Cora Mae Scabbyhorse Querderbitty, Patricia Ann Walker, Charlene Lime and Georgia Roberts; two grandchildren, David Youngbear and Daryl Youngbear; and her and Don’s canine daughter Bourgeois (Booshwah).

Viola attended schools at Canton and Concho boarding school. Viola was part of the BIA Relocation Program and was relocated to Chicago, Illinois where she worked for the Spiegel Company. Viola also worked for (OIO) Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity Inc., Opportunities Inc., served on the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes Business Committee from 1994 to 1995. Viola served as tribal chair, vice chair and treasurer of the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes. During Viola’s tenure as chair, the tribe submitted a tribal gaming ordinance, which was approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). Shortly thereafter, the Lucky Star Casino was built in Concho.

Viola was a Native American activist and sued the Canton School and won the case over her son Buddy Hatch’s right to wear long hair. She is a member of the following organizations: American Indian Movement, board member of the National Indian Youth Council, Cheyenne & Arapaho Elder board member, Southern Arapaho language advisory board, Bear Butte forum, lead walker and organizer for the “Family & Mother Earth Walk”. She has hosted all of Dennis Banks cross-country walks and runs at her home in Canton. She volunteered as a Culture and Heritage speaker to many schools and libraries and other organizations that invited her. Viola was involved with “Wounded Knee 1973”, the KWTV news documentary “Till It’s Here No More”, with news reporter Bob Dotson, NIYC and AIM support for the parent and student standoff and boycott in Hammon, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Institute for the Southern Plains Freedom School, Women of All Red Nations, and Art & Craft Co-op. She has also traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to attend the United Nations Forum on Indigenous Peoples and helped work on the Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples. She also made a trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland for a Sacred Sites meeting with the Ambassador to the European Union. She was selected as the Honored Elder for the C&A Labor Day Powwow and as the Cheyenne & Arapaho AARP Indian Elder of the Year. She enjoyed bingo, going to dances and powwows, her grandkids and reading. Viola fought not only for the culture and rights of all Native People, but all people.

Wake services was Thursday, April 25, 2019 at the Canton Native American Gymnasium with Arapaho Chief Elvin Kenrick officiating. Funeral services was held Friday, April 26, 2019 at the Canton School Multi-Purpose Building with Don Patterson officiating. Interment will follow in the Canton Indian Mennonite Cemetery under the direction of Pierce Funeral Home, Canton, Oklahoma. Condolences may be made online at www.piercefuneralhomes.com.

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