Geraldine DeCoteau Harvey Album

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Geraldine Decoteau Harvey

Geraldine DeCoteau Harvey passed away on June 15, 2006, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after having lived in Taos, New Mexico, for over 50 years. She was 17 days shy of her 90th birthday. This online album commemorates her life and achievements, and celebrates her vivacity and love of life.

Geraldine was born on July 2, 1916, in Wisconsin to a Chippewa Algonquin father and an Oneida Iroquois mother. Whereas she grew up  at Manitowish Waters, she later attended boarding schools as a youngster, such as Odanah and Flandreau Indian School in South Dakota. She then became one of  the first Native American women to graduate from college, first obtaining a Bachelors of Arts degree from Sioux Falls College, and subsequently a Master's Degree from the University of Wisconsin. In her professional life she taught elementary school, traveling to isolated regions of the United States--Menomenies (Wisconsin), Sioux (Montana), Oklahoma, Apaches, Sac and Fox, Cheyennes, and Pueblos (New Mexico)--to work with Native American children. Her methods were ahead of her time, and she believed in fully immersing her students in the educational experience.

Preceding retirement, she taught at Taos and in Tesuque, both communities with large Native American populations. Upon her retirement, a number of newspapers commented astutely that she would be "one tough act to follow."

She is survived by her well-known daughter, the flamenco dancer María Benítez, her son-in-law Cecilio Benítez, her grandson Francisco Benítez, and a large extended family including her first husband and father to her daughter, Josué Díaz.

This site is a work in progress, so please return frequently to see the updated site. Thanks for all your patience.