Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Oleta Merry Boyce


Honored October, 2001

Oleta Merry Boyce

In her 93 years, Oleta Merry Boyce has been an educator to the Indians--among other things. Fifty years ago she directed the home economics department of the Inter-mountain School in Brigham City, Utah, where previously uneducated Navajo children learned how to make their way in a changing world.

Other tours of duty have included the U. S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.

Yet service as an educator has been just one aspect of her long life. In Santa Fe she was one of the founders of the Council on International Relations in 1965. She is a dedicated member of the First Presbyterian Church. She remains active in the Santa Fe Garden Club. For 10 years she has been a bulwark at El Castillo Retirement Community.

Wherever she goes, Oleta Merry Boyce generates an outpouring of appreciation, on a very deep level. Long-grown-up Indian children regard her as the essential inspiration in their lives. Ministers in whose congregations she sat say they will never forget her. Her neighbors at El Castillo enthusiastically signed on to endorse her as a "Treasure."

And like most Living Treasures, she does not understand why she was selected.

Story by Richard McCord
Photo © 2001 Steve Northup