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Sammye Jo Harvey - Mother Moon

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She is one of the people mentioned here

Sammye Jo Harvey is her birth name, she was born 1949 in Lamb, Texas. In 1967  she was in Ventura, California. In her bio: "Sammye grew up in a mixed culture of Native American and white." I don't know where she grew up, if Lamb Texas  is where she grew up - if she has accurately described it here.

"Sammye was born with the Christian name of Sammye Jo Harvey, named after her Grandfather who is from the Chippewa Tribe of the Ojibwe Nation."

So she is correct on her birth name. And she does have a grandfather named Samuel Harvey. I'm not sure on the Chippewa claim.

Her father Robert Bruce Harvey with his parents, which includes her grandfather Samuel Harvey, are listed white in both 1930 & 1940 census, Blaine county, Montana. Robert's mother was born in Russia.

Her grandfather Samuel Harvey is listed white in US federal census 1920, 1930, 1940. On his World War I draft registration he is white, born Fort Benton Montana, farmer. He stated he was exempt from draft for religious reasons, as a member of the Church of God. He is said to have married in Canada and is in the 1916 Canadian census, French heritage. In 1916 his religious affiliation is also listed as Church of God.

Samuel Harvey's parents were Charles Harvey born Pennsylvania and Caroline Lafromboise born Canada. Don't know anything about their respective parents. In an obit Charles and Caroline are both described as pioneers of Havre, Montana.

In 1900 US federal census there is a Samuel Harvey listed at the Fort Shaw Industrial Indian School, Cascade, Montana. He is Indian, no tribes listed in the school census. The age is about 2 years off, but could be him. Samuel Harvey is a relatively common name, so this record alone probably does not prove or disprove anything. The census is handwritten so some researchers think the surname might even actually be something other than Harvey. All other records I've found describe Sammye Jo Harvey's grandfather Samuel as white, and his parents were described as pioneers.

She says she is a "Native American Medicine Woman" and  "Her Native childhood name was Many Colors (meaning open heart).".  My guess would be that she is white, with maybe some distant heritage.

The dance troupe she is a member of is founded by Jeanne White Eagle, who claims she has maternal Cherokee ancestry.

They have this on their site:

--- Quote ---*Special Note: It is important to understand that this dance is not a Native American Dance, but rather a dance brought forth from Jeanne White Eagle's own personal vision.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---The first time on the crew it is good to be a Dog Soldier as you will get a full view of the dance and can really encounter the energy in a good way, or be in a Kitchen Angel (so called because as you return from the dance arbour having worked really hard, anyone who has had a hand in preparing the food is really like an angel to you), where you can learn to produce food with love. “Dog Soldier” is a term that is inspired by the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, who were honourable and brave men who would place their lives on the line to protect their people. (This is not a Native American dance though). There are other positions like Drummers, Elders, Moon Mothers, Sun Father, Alpha Dog where a little more experience is beneficial. The Chiefs put the crew together for a dance and work hard to put it together in balance and to feel which person is best in each position for that particular dance.

--- End quote ---

We received this account from one of Harvey's family. I broke it up into paragraphs, otherwise didn't alter anything. I also asked her family what they know of the claim of a Nuager that she was trained by Harvey.

Since Harvey has passed on, we should discuss what to do with this thread, if we should move it to Archives.

I was surprised to come across this post questioning SammyJo's authenticity. I am sure you are aware of the deep-rooted impact of Indian boarding schools and forced relocations, and how these historical events continue to affect families to this day. Let me share with you some information about her grandfather, Sam.

Sam was born in Havre, Montana in 1889. His childhood was marked by a tragic chapter in her family's history. The Pony Soldiers, a military unit, arrived at Sam’s tribe, the Pembina -Little Shell Band , and deliberately distributed blankets infected with smallpox. The disease claimed the lives of many of his people, including friends and family.

His Mother Caroline died when she was 46 after suffering paralysis after having been experimented on in hospital for “Insane Indians” in Warm Springs, Montana. Many were just spiritual people who were treated as crazy. A

s a result of this devastating event, her grandfather was forcibly sent to a Catholic Orphanage/boarding school. There, he was subjected to the suppression of his native language and culture, which was an incredibly difficult experience for him. It was here he was abused. While carrying ashes from the wood stove, the Priest berated and beat him for being "uncivilized" and not genuflecting. His hands were burned.

This incident deeply affected her grandfather and ultimately led to his decision to escape. He found work as a cook for a chuckwagon and embarked on a journey of self-reliance and independence. Despite his fluency in Anishinaabemowin (the language of our tribe), French, and English, he made a conscious choice not to teach his children their Native language. Instead, he firmly believed that in order for them to navigate and succeed in this predominantly white society, they needed to embrace the ways of the white man. He often said, "Children, this is a white man's country and culture now, and in order to survive, you must learn their ways.”

These traumatic experiences profoundly shaped her grandfather's life and the lives of subsequent generations in her family. Many abused children grew up and wrote “white” when asked what race they were due to lasting scars and deeply ingrained pain. It is important to understand and acknowledge the historical context and the ongoing repercussions of such actions on Indigenous communities. So, when discussing SammyJo's heritage, it should be done with empathy, sensitivity, and respect for the historical trauma that her family endured.

Sammy Jo has walked on. She was my Father’s cousin. Her Father also died young and tragically. It’s because of my grandmother’s example in the short time that she was here and her influence that I’m able to speak Michif and Anishinaabemowin. Sammy lived in Ventura with my Grandmother- the same grandmother who collected rain water in buckets and sang when she washed our hair. The same grandmother who despite her Father’s suffering taught me to bead and told me stories of the rugaroo and the teachings of the medicine wheel.

Kimberly indizhinikaaz Maang indoodem Esens Ojibwe indaaw


--- Quote from: educatedindian on October 04, 2023, 07:19:04 pm ---I also asked her family what they know of the claim of a Nuager that she was trained by Harvey.
--- End quote ---

I also found an example of that:

From the bio of a woman calling herself "Soozi or Gogo Stef":

--- Quote ---From 2006  – 2016 she completed various apprenticeships as a Vision Dancer, Moon Mother, Firekeeper, Pipe Carrier, Sweat Lodge pourer, Dance Chief and Quest facilitator in the Red Road Teachings of  the Picuris Pueblo Medicine Man & Mystic, Joseph Rael Beautiful Painted Arrow & The sweet Medicine Sundance Path. She had various teachers in these lineages such as Jean White Eagle, Mother Moon (Sammye Jo Harvey) and Fritz Duminy Fire Eagle.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: educatedindian on October 04, 2023, 07:19:04 pm ---Since Harvey has passed on, we should discuss what to do with this thread, if we should move it to Archives.
--- End quote ---

Her obituary:

--- Quote ---Sammye Harvey Obituary
Ms. Sammye Jo Harvey, age 73, of Del Rio, passed away Wednesday, March 23, 2022 at Newport Medical Center.
She was a Native American Story Teller and she traveled the world sharing her talent of story telling.
--- End quote ---

A further email from Kimberly, followed by my comments.

Sadly, I didnt really know her because after my Grandma died our family wasn’t really close.
I do know, however, know that one of my aunts is into - new age stuff but doesn’t claim it’s tribal.
As a person who highly values tradition, I can understand the concern. My only intention was to clarify that she is Little Shell and to share a some history.

As far as training someone in traditional ways… I’m somewhat surprised by that since our family was relocated to Ventura and it even further disconnected us from our traditions and in hindsight was just another form of assimilation…my Grandmother’s only wish was to go home to Montana. She did finally return only to die two months later …

I haven't found any evidence of Harvey selling ceremony, but someone correct me if they do.

It seems most likely to me that Harvey was out of touch with traditional ways most of her life, but made an effort to learn what she could when she was already elderly, and then started storytelling. She then naively allowed several Nuagers to get close to her and they greatly exaggerated what Harvey knew and taught.

Perhaps we move this thread to Archives, but then post a bold notice making it clear about Nuagers making unlikely claims about her.


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