Kathy Running Horse Wells 1957-2010

kathy and i both came into dis-ability together, especially the intolerance within the teachers’ unions for full, dignified inclusion. we both shared the initial shock at the pervasiveness of dis-ability exclusion, ridicule and hostility. i have, we have lost a real sister in the struggle. i loved her so much. i will miss her very very much. perhaps those at this years nea convention, when the mourn for her, can, in her honor, demand the nea convention, at the very least, address the issues of accessibility (and dignity) that have gone ignored for years.

andy griggs, emma rosenthal and kathy wells

A Valiant Sister Warrior’s Crossing

It is with great sadness and love that we share the following message from NEA AI/AN Pacific Regional Director and CIEA President, our brother Clyde Hodge.Dear Brothers and Sisters,(I’ve just checked into Baton Rouge and am writing this as soon as possible.)

It is my very sad duty to inform you that our friend and ally, long time CTA and NEA AI/AN Caucus member and American Indian rights activist Kathy Running Horse Wells crossed over to be with her ancestors today, at about 4:00 PM Pacific daylight Savings Time, today, June 24 2010, at a hospital in the SF Bay Area due to complications from diabetes.

To quote Cheryl Whitney who called to let me know, “CTA and NEA AI/AN caucuses and Union work was her life.” We will miss Kathy and wish she were still with us, but we must celebrate her struggles, battles, and successes in the work she did for NEA, CTA, the AI/AN Caucuses, and the American Indian/Alaska Natives educational community. She was a Strong-hearted Warrior.

I trust you will say a prayer in your own way for the family, friends, and other loved ones Kathy left behind, and please allow yourself a prayer as well.

In sadness and solidarity,

All my Relations,


It is also of note that we share and continue Kathy’s advocacy for disability access and inclusion at the NEA-RA. Kathy shared with Emma Rosenthal and others many times, the humiliation that was typically experienced by union activists with dis-abilities. Tommy Flanagan  CTA/NEA  American Indian/Alaska Native Caucus

ruth and kathy summer 2009

6 responses to “Kathy Running Horse Wells 1957-2010

  1. I miss my friend Kathy very much. She was one of the most caring and talented women that have been part of my life. She and I became friends in January 1974 and I have many treasured memories of her, her mother, and her brother Robbie. Kathy, her mother Dorothy, and I went to the King Tut exhibit in San Francisco together, celebrated the 4th of July with the neighbors on the other side of the wall in Piedmont, have many crazy memories of Marching Lumberjacks and Humboldt State University. I thank God for the opportunity to be a part of her life and she of mine.

  2. I am sadden by the news of kathy’s passing. I counted her as a life time friend. Being up in the northwest we didn’t see much of Kathy the last several years. And now to find she is gone is likeing waking up and finding part of you missing.
    I know Kathy, and Nancy and I had hit a total bond sitting in Goof Eath and talking and we began finishing each others thought as if we were one mind.

    One thing I can honestly tell you about Kathy, She become more beautiful each day.

    Rest well my friend. We will see you at home.

  3. Kathy kept reaching out to me until I knew I had a true friend. Her fight for the rights of ALL will be continued. I will miss her strength, brilliance, creativity and her sharing her life with me. I feel so empty right now.

  4. Diatra W. Stearn

    Kathy was a fighter. I will always remember her
    as being an advocate. She was disappointed about the way her district treated her during her illness. It is too bad that they cannot right their wrong. REst in Peace!

  5. Thank you for sharing the story of this beautiful friend with us!

    As you’ve said before, we can all say kind words when someone passes, but we must to counter the injustice they faced down in their beautiful struggle.

    Please keep writing and inspiring!

  6. Pingback: Kathy Running Horse Wells 1957-2010 « ¡Cafe Intifada! -Uniting Art With Critical Consciousness

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