Ferial E. Deer-Skye, age 83 of Keshena, passed away on Sunday, October 22, 2023, in Madison, WI, under the care of Agrace Hospice.
Ferial was born May 8, 1940, in Keshena, a daughter of the late Joseph Edward Deer and the late Constance Stockton (Wood) Deer. Ferial attended school in Shawano and later graduated from Shawano High School in 1958. Following high school she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ferial made her way through college and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with a major in Dance Education, and a minor in English. After college, she studied at Julliard School of Music, NYC Dance Department. She later went on to earn both a Master’s Degree and a Doctorate from the University of South Dakota-Vermillion in Education Psychology and Counseling. Ferial presented her doctoral dissertation in October of 1989, entitled A Study of the Effects of a Culturally-Based Dance Education Model on Identified Stress Factors in American Indian College Women.
Ferial married Clarence W. Skye in 1964. She was employed as a counselor for many years and was the K-8th grade counselor at the Menominee Tribal School for 19 years, retiring in 2017 when she was diagnosed with cancer. Ferial was a wonderful, talented, sensitive, and learned person who forged her own path in life. She was a talented flutist, playing for family celebrations when she was younger. Ferial started one of the first American Indian dance groups in South Dakota. She was extremely proud of her relationship with the Sioux people. She was also proud of her relationship with her own Menominee people. Ferial made many connections as a counselor, friend, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and elder.
Survivors include her sons, Clifton Wood Skye of Shawano, and Martin Deer Skye of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; her daughter, Wenonah Evelyn Skye of Fitchburg, WI; three grandchildren, Mariah Dakota Skye, Elizabeth Katherine Skye, and Sage Martin Skye; three great-grandchildren, Aurorah Isabella Skye-Gacke, Orion Anthony Skye-Gacke, and Wimimila Luta Win Skye; her sister, Connie Deer; her half-sister, Carol Kryzan Jones; and many nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends. Ferial was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Robert Deer, and Joseph Deer; her sister, Ada Deer; and one granddaughter, Savannah Diamond Skye.
In keeping with her wishes, the family will celebrate the life of Ferial Deer-Skye privately.