NEFA was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Trudie Lamb Richmond (Schaghticoke). Trudie was a member of NEFA’s board of directors from 2010-2013 and was a regular powerful participant at Native arts gatherings, advisory meetings, and grant review panels for many years. 

Dawn Spears (Narragansett/Choctaw), Director of the Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance and the former director of NEFA’s Native Arts program, offered this personal reflection on Trudie’s meaning to her and to the Native community:

"Trudie Lamb Richmond (Schaghticoke, August 5, 1931–April 26, 2021) was a force to be reckoned with. She was instrumental in so many areas that benefitted our Native Communities here on the east coast.  I remember her from my childhood, when we were out with my mother attending local events, as a respected leader in the arts/education sector. What resonated the most was her role as an activist. 

In my adult life I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Trudie. She became the auntie, mentor, and friend that I am sure she was for many.  I could count on forthrightness, her integrity, and her honesty on any subject. With her loss, we have lost yet another icon in our Native New England community, one who forged the path for those of us navigating this landscape today.  

I feel truly blessed to have called her my friend."

Quita Sullivan (Montaukett/Shinnecock), Senior Program Director, Theater at NEFA, remembers Trudie:

"I met Trudie “officially” through NEFA’s Native Arts program. When I met her, I realized that we had been in the same circles for many years – just not at the same time. I saw her at pow wows and community events for longer than I can remember. Later, at the Pequot Museum, she was the host for my son’s summer camp – the only one in Boston focused on urban Native kids. It wasn’t until much later, at NEFA, that we put two and two together – Auntie Trudie and this fierce champion for Native rights were one and the same. Although she was a soft-speaking person, her words were always, direct and true- guaranteed to point you in the right direction. I was in a language class when I learned of her passing. The class devolved into Trudie stories for the next half hour. She was deeply loved and will be deeply missed."

Jane Preston, Deputy Director, Programs at NEFA, recalls Trudie’s impact on NEFA’s work:

"Trudie was one of the earliest advisors to NEFA in developing support for Native artists in the Northeast region. I remember meeting Trudie at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum when she was an educator and builder of programs and community there.  When I think of Trudie, I remember generosity, strength, and wisdom. 

It is through knowing Trudie that I came to understand the importance of elders and I am honored to have been in her presence. She was an exquisite storyteller, infusing her tales with her wit, humor, and lessons. She was also a deep listener – able to quietly take in a lot of words and then respond with a few but perfectly chosen remarks. I remember her as a gentle and powerful inspiration."

Learn more about Trudie through this beautiful tribute written by her granddaughter.