Anna Belle (Sixkiller) Mitchell, Cherokee potter, passed away Saturday, March 3, 2012 in Vinita, Ok.
She was born in Jay, Oklahoma, the daughter of Iva Louise (Owens) Sixkiller and Houston Sixkiller. All her family were fullblood Cherokees and that language was spoken in her home when she was a child. She was brought up a Christian, but worship was in the native language. She received her formal education at Seneca Indian School in Wyandotte and Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas.
On April 17, 1946 she married Robert C. Mitchell in Oswego, Kansas. They made their home in Vinita and were active members of Pilgrim Presbyterian Church. They had five children, four daughters and one son. Anna Belle was active in PTA, Camp Fire Girls, and many other activities. She was a gifted seamstress and homemaker.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bob, daughter, Nena York, and son, Clay Mitchell, and several siblings. She is survived by three daughters, Victoria Vazquez and husband Bruce of Welch, OK, Betty Mitchell and husband Bennett Parnes, of Englewood, Colorado, and Julie McPeek and husband, Mark of Crescent, OK, twelve grandchildren and nineteen great grandchildren. Four surviving sisters are Pat Black, Ruth Bryant, Josie Jones, and Priscilla Bell, and four brothers, Joe Hilderbrand, Johnny, Kenneth, and Dennis Sixkiller.
Anna has been designated Cherokee National Treasure since 1982 and is credited with single-handedly reviving the art of traditional, hand-built, southeastern/woodlands style pottery. Anna has displayed her prize-winning pottery at Santa Fe Indian Market as well and many other Native American art shows throughout the United States. Some of her pottery pieces are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C. Her artwork is in many private collections throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Funeral services were Monday March 5, 2012 in the Pilgrim Presbyterian Church at 2: p.m.. Pallbearers were Mark McPeek, Mitchell McPeek EricMcPeek, Daniel McPeek, Bruce Vazquez and Fred York.. Honorary Pallbearers were Bennett Parnes, Tommy Clanton and Ben Dixon. In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome and can be made to the Cherokee nation Foundation c/o Anna Belle Mitchell Memorial Scholarship Fund, 115 E. Delaware, Talequah, Ok. 74464. Interment followed at Fairview Cemetery in Vinita, Ok..