Our hearts are heavy with the loss of Marshall McKay, NACF’s founding board member and past chair of the board, who died of COVID-19 complications on December 29 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Marshall McKay (Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation) believed in and supported the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) even before its launching in 2009. Alongside founding board members Walter Echohawk (Pawnee), Elizabeth Woody (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) and Joy Harjo (Mvskoke Nation), Marshall was one of the driving forces that birthed NACF into existence. He also chaired the foundation’s board of directors from 2011 through 2015.
McKay was a high spirited leader who generously shared his dedication to Native arts and cultures and compelling commitment to Native artists. His mother, Mabel McKay, was a prolific weaver and basketmaker. Marshall and his wife Sharon were very engaging hosts and donated their home for special events that featured the work of many Native artists. The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation was the beneficiary of McKay’s generosity in numerous ways and we’ll always remember his smile and good sense of humor.
Marshall offered the same level of dedication and commitment to his tribe, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, having served as tribal Councilmember for 31 years, over a decade of which he was the tribe’s Chairman. He was also Chair Emeritus of the Autry Museum of the American West, where he became the first Native person to serve as chairman.
We will continue to honor Marshall McKay’s legacy of leadership and advocacy for Native heritage, arts, culture and artists through the work that we do at NACF, which, to a great extent, is due to his contributions to the creation of NACF and his influence in the field.
Our hearts, prayers and blessings are with his family and his tribal members.