Roy Ramirez on Jerome’s Gift of Creativity

Roy asks: “What is it with gifted and talented people? What an amazing gift they have, to be able to visually express their ‘minds’ interpretations of life.’ A gift that is so amazing to us mortals who are not creative in this way! To think that anything a gifted artist creates is ‘less than acceptable genius,’ doesn’t register with me.

There were a number of times, when I’d visit Jerome at his home in El Reno, Oklahoma, that I’d find him in his ‘designated studio space.’ He’d be sitting there… just staring at a piece of artwork ‘that I found to be awesome!’ I’d ask what he was up to and he’d answer with something like “wasting time, from what I can see.

Another time, as I walked up the steps of his porch, I noticed an absolutely powerful painting he’d finished and left on the porch. I was guessing that he’d left it out to dry or something. So, I asked Jerome what the deal was with the painting he had left outside. Without so much as a slight hesitation he said, “Oh, that’s just junk, I was experimenting with a new medium, and I tried painting on a piece of Masonite.” Well, being the junk collector that I am, I quickly asked if I could claim what I thought to be a beautifully created piece of art. He said, “Sure, bring it in and I’ll sign it for you”. That ‘piece of junk’ became my treasure.

Today, many are awed when they enter the Thunderbird Casino at Concho and see the painted ceiling by my friend, the great Jerome Bushyhead. Artists like Jerome are such a strong part of our world.

It was an honor to see Jerome Bushyhead in moments of his creative genius. His gift of art remains to bless us all.”

“Indian Night Song” by Jerome Bushyhead

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 3:47 am  Comments (2)  

More from Roy Ramirez: The Simple Things are the Best

A friend loves at all times…
Proverbs 17:17

Roy states:

“The simple things are the best. That could have been the message shared between Jerome and I the final time I saw him.

Jerome was in the hospital for an extended stay. I went by just to visit for a while. Among the usual talk of TV days and pleasantries, the conversation turned to the season of the year. We both related that when we were growing up, this season (summer) was always our favorite. You could find fresh vegetables and fruit on almost any corner in the country towns where we grew up.

Soon we were thinking about how good watermelons tasted, cantaloupe smelled, how juicy the bite into fresh peach was, and even embarrassing moments caused because of eager eating habits and stains from the fresh, juicy garden treats . After a while the conversation waned , and a silence fell. Jerome drifted off into a deep sleep. While I sat there watching him and noticing his intermittent, irregular breathing… I felt the time was growing near for this dear friend to claim his place in glory. I decided that we’d continue our conversation when he woke up again, so I sat quietly at his side.

About 45 minutes passed, Jerome stirred a little, opened his eyes and said, ” You know, I’d love to have some watermelon… oh and a hot dog too… with everything on it!” Jerome fought diabetes for most of his life, but I guess he also sensed his time coming and wanted to make the most of the time he had left. No sooner said than done. Within an hour Trina (my wife) and I made a run to a local grocery store, and of course, to Coit’s for the hot dogs. We returned to the room and shared a wonderful meal with Jerome and of course, more memories . You’d think we’d just placed a chunk of gold in his hands with the meal we presented. Jerome made us feel so very special that day, just by doing something so very simple.

More than ever, I realized it was the “simple things” that I would always remember as the best of times with my brother, Jerome.”

Jerome Bushyhead enjoys conversation with a friend…
A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24
Published in: on July 13, 2008 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

More from Roy Ramirez on KRPT “Indians to Indians for SW Oklahoma” Radio Show

Roy Ramirez shared:

“I had the honor of being one of Jerome’s Pall Bearers at the service. I hold the honor blanket the family presented me as a special gift and treasure . The honor blanket, along with his hat and other special items the family passed to me are held in ‘a place of honor’ in my home. I was unable to attend the dinner afterwards due to a commercial I was taping the next morning in Dallas. As a result I missed that special event.

Roy shares, “Before I met Jerome…”

I’d started my radio career by ‘being one of the first on the air’ in Anadarko on station KRPT. One of the programs we instituted was the “Indians to Indians for Southwest Oklahoma” program. It was amazing to see as many as 40 performers and singers arrive and perform live in a space about 30 X 30 feet each Saturday. That’s where I first met artists like Doc Tate, Woogie, and Lincoln Tartsa.

One of the hosts, Louis Satoka, was also an artist. He and the other host, a gentleman named Adolphus Goombi, would be exchanging friendly jabs at each other and soon they’d start comparing tribal talents. Adolphus would make a statement about the Wichita tribe and Louis would jab back at Adolphus’ tribe (Caddo, as best recalled). Each would claim to have the highest number of champion dancers, best singers, and most talented artists.

They’d go on by saying, ‘our tribe has this artist, that dancer and etc., etc…’ A number of times I’d hear Jerome’s name pop up in the conversation. I never asked who he was. It never really seemed to matter at that time. One Saturday, as the group was filing in, they were discussing the upcoming Oklahoma State Fair. They said that they were expecting to try and do a live show from the fairgrounds, if it could all be arranged. Also, they’d need permission from the fair and Jerome Bushyhead. In trying to put it together, I had to make contacts in Oklahoma City. So, I asked, “Who is Jerome Bushyhead and how will I recognize him? They both looked at each other, kind of smiled and chuckled, then turned to me and said, “You’ll know him once you see him.”

The show from the state fair never developed any further than the talking stage. As Jerome might say, “Indian time took over, and it was not to be.” So, I missed that early opportunity to meet my brother. When we finally did meet, this six foot ten and a half inch massive giant, proved to be the most sincere, gentle person I had ever met.”

BOOK: A Companion to the Anthropology of American Indians Written By Thomas Biolsi

an excerpt from the book: …. One might consider, for example, how the recording industry and broadcast radio have affected the process of adaptation and change. In southwestern Oklahoma, for instance, every Saturday morning, the radio station KRPT hosts a show entitled “Indians for Indians,” which often features Indian music of all kinds and styles. Kiowa and other native singers often use the medium to introduce the latest singing group, share new songs, or present alternate song renditions. Similarly, many American Indian communities have their own radio stations (such as Navajo Nation Radio KTNN) where negotiations about the adaptations and changes of music (in addition to a host of other issues) are played out on a daily basis….

A Companion to the Anthropology of American Indians – Google Books Result

by Thomas Biolsi – 2004 – Social Science – 567 pages
In southwestern Oklahoma, for instance, every Saturday morning, the radio station KRPThosts a show entitled “Indians for Indians,” which often features

A note from Cheryl: I’m not sure if this is the Adolphus Goombi that Roy spoke of, but thought it was worth noting:

This information is offered FREE and taken from


Fort Cobb, Caddo County, Oklahoma

Canvassed by Jim & Pat Tustison 2003.

The Caddo County Genealogical Society has

digital pictures for this cemetery on file



Goombi, Adolphus: 01 Apr 191004 Mar 1987

Published in: on July 10, 2008 at 11:04 pm  Comments (1)  

A friend of Jerome’s Remembers… Roy Ramirez in his own words

If you live in the hearts of those you leave behind, it’s as if you’ve never left at all . . .

Roy Ramirez, a long-time friend of Jerome Bushyhead’s recently contacted me. His message touched my heart. He shares the deep love I have for Jerome and so I asked him to share his stories of their days together. I hope this will be one of many to come for you to read and enjoy.

Here is Roy’s remembrances – in his own words:

Greetings! …There are so many stories over the years that I had the privilege of knowing, working and having fun with Jerome. The very first time I ever met Jerome was at the promotional shoot for the “Unity Program on KTVY 4”. The background was the “set” for Unity. At first our producer, George Wesley suggested we each stand by one of the big “UNITY” letters. These letters were fairly tall, that way each one of us that hosted the program could stand/lean by one of the letters for our posed shot.

I had my letter chosen. The host of the African American program, Michael Black had his chosen. Our stature made the letters impressive in size , All was going well until Jerome took his place by his letter. Needless to say, when Jerome took his position, he made it looked more like a child’s block letter toy. His huge size overwhelmed the impact of the letter idea, so we instead settled for the “Party Pix” pose as we referred to it. I always enjoyed making him laugh, he would ask what the latest joke was I had heard. His laugh was genuine and made you feel good just to hear it…
Below is a copy of the original advertisement for Unity:


Yes, Roy – It was always fun to share a laugh with Jerome. He had his serious side, but always maintained his great sense of humor, a cheerful attitude and his smile came easily. In hearing this story and remembering just ‘how large of a presence Jerome was’ in his healthier days, I can picture him ‘dwarfing’ that letter. I think it was probably wise that you moved on to ‘Plan B.’ He truly was a ‘giant of a man,’ wasn’t he?
Thank you again for sharing your story. Perhaps we will be blessed to hear another. Keep them coming! It brings Jerome a little closer to us, and I know he is enjoying us having a good laugh together as we remember the good times we shared with him! – And those who didn’t have the great honor of knowing him personally, can know him through us. We love and miss you, dear friend.
Jerome & Laura Bushyhead
This photo was taken at a week-long art show on the Seminole Reservation in Florida in the early 1990s. ‘The time spent on that trip with Jerome and Laura left me with many fond memories,’ Cheryl states. ”It was an amazing show! We had a blast together and the crowds were unbelievable! People literally lined up for blocks and blocks to get in! It was incredibly humid, scorching hot weather, but because of Jerome’s ‘clout’ we were put in the cool shade – they gave us the only hut on the rez, I think and treated us like royalty! But of course, Jerome WAS royalty!’ (I will try to find some more pictures from that show.)

Published in: on July 10, 2008 at 7:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Photo of me with R. W. Geionety and Laura Bushyhead at a show


Lots of “good times” have been shared at the shows.

R.W. is an extremely talented artist and good friend.

Laura Bushyhead… always sweet, supportive and someone I called “mom.”

Photo taken 11-23-1996


Tulsa Indian Art Festival poster (Sample of R.W.’s work)

Jerome Bushyhead, my adopted Cheyenne Dad

Jerome, at a healthier time in his life.


(Taken at his Western Expo, I believe…)


This photo was taken at Jerome’s house in El Reno, shortly before he passed on.

Jerome’s “End of Freedom” End of Freedom by Jerome Bushyhead

Jerome & I, along with our families, shared so many good times through the years during personal time and while set up at shows such as Red Earth, gallery shows, the yearly art calendar signings, the Western Expo he directed and coordinated, and shows like the Seminole Tribe’s “Native America ’93” week-long show in Hialeah, Florida which I will be sharing stories about later. He was such a genuine and gentle, kind spirited man. He seemed to take me under his wing shortly after I began showing my art and was a steadfast adviser and friend, soon becoming family to me, my husband and children.

Vision Seeker by Jerome Bushyhead Vision Seeker by Jerome Bushyhead

After many of the art shows, we would all go out for dinner. Jerome had such a powerful presence about him. It seemed as though a silence would fall over the room and everyone there would turn to observe this massive, captivating man each time we walked into a restaurant. You could tell that “they knew he was someone special” the moment he walked in. And indeed he was. I remember one particular man who sat at the table behind him. This man could not take his eyes off of Jerome, staring at him and his huge hand thrown over the back of the chair, bearing a turquoise ring “that would have almost fit most people’s wrists.” Laura, his wife, made a light-hearted comment that night about being jealous with all the attention he was getting (not just from the women…but from all the men in the room). But that was the way it always was with Jerome. People were drawn to him. Of course, this suited Jerome. He liked people and was always warm, approachable and his presence and words were always powerful and welcomed.

Warrior’s Commitment Warrior’s Commitment by Jerome Bushyhead

Jerome had an incredible speaking voice. He had a gift for speaking and a comfortable ease about him that kept your attention. When he spoke, people listened. His words were full of substance because he spoke from the heart and from a place of wisdom. And conversation was always easy with Jerome. I looked up to him and learned so much from him. So many gifts he gave me…

jerome-may-13-1999.jpgHe is never far away these days. I have a very large, lone coyote that visits me. He travels alone. I always know when he is there. He has a special presence about him as Jerome always had and he exhibits that quiet strength I saw in Jerome. One day he approached the door of the barn and looked inside as I was feeding our horses (…as witnessed from a distance by my husband). Often, he will quietly walk across our front or back yard… very near the house, throwing me a curious glance through the window as he slowly passes through. He is never in a hurry. And I always get that warm, comforting feeling that I had any time I was around Jerome. So, as the Coyote Walks By… I know it is Jerome – keeping a watchful eye… checking on me. Saying hello. He lets me know he is well… and still there for me.

Jerome Bushyhead (9/13/1929 – 4/15/2000)

More on Jerome Bushyhead: The English meaning of Jerome Bushyhead’s Cheyenne name is Coyote Walks By.” As well as being a fellow artist, Jerome became my adopted Cheyenne dad and was a dear friend. Jerome Bushyhead was born in Calumet, Oklahoma September 13, 1929. He passed on in El Reno, Oklahoma April 15, 2000.

Below are some of his many accomplishments:

His education was at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana; His art subject matter of specialty was Cheyenne and Plains Indian Beliefs & Traditions. These included spiritual topics and the path traveled by the warrior. He was recognized for his excellent interpretation of the life of the plains Indians, exhibiting his work and speaking extensively throughout the U.S. and throughout Germany, Switzerland, France and Austria. His original works hang in private collections all over the world.He was a producer and host of his own television show “Unity” on Channel 4, KTVY, in Oklahoma City for eight years; He was Director of the Oklahoma State Fair Indian Program since 1976; He hosted a radio program on Station KELR, El Reno Oklahoma, entitled “The Indian Nation Hour” for five years; He founded the Cheyenne Nation Arts and Crafts Show and Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow in 1972, which has become a National Event; He was Co-Founder of the Oklahoma Indian Art League, Inc.; His Painting, “The Worshiping Warrior”, appeared on the cover of the 1974 summer issue of the “Chronicles of Oklahoma” magazine published by the Oklahoma Historical Society; He is noted for being the spokesman for all Indians charged in April 1974 with “Feather Violations” by the U.S. Wildlife Commission. Jerome was the primary force in the Indians fight to retain the right to use the feathers. He appeared on both local and national TV in his efforts to ensure the right was restored to the Indian people; He worked with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma as the Public Information Director; He worked with the Pacific International Enterprises Movie Company on “Wind Walker” from 1980- 81; He lectured at schools, colleges, organizations, communities and had been involved with charitable work such as providing a painting to the Los Angeles Indian Actors Association for a raffle to provide funds for a National Tour.



Wake service for widely-known Cheyenne artist Jerome Gilbert BUSHYHEAD (Coyote Walks By), 70, will be at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 19, at Benson Memorial Chapel, 100 S. Barker, El Reno. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m., Thursday, April 20, at Jenks Simmons Field House, El Reno. The Rev. Robert Pinezaddleby, the Rev. Jerry Ervin and the Rev. Robin Tiger will officiate. Burial in Concho Cemetery will be directed by Huber-Benson Funeral Home.

He was born Sept. 13, 1929, at Calumet to Fred and Dulcie (WHITEBIRD) BUSHYHEAD and died Saturday, April 15, 2000, at his home in El Reno.

He graduated from El Reno High School in 1948 and was all-state in basketball. He attended Centenary College, Shreveport, La., on a basketball scholarship. A veteran of the US Air Force, he became a full-time artist in 1970.

He traveled extensively throughout the US and Europe with his artwork and was selected as featured artist for the "96 Native American Festival" in Europe. In 1971 he founded the Cheyenne Nation Powwow in El Reno and from 1973-81 hosted an "Indian Nation Hour" program on two El Reno radio stations and from 1976-81 hosted his own Native American TV program on Channel 4 in Oklahoma City. In 1973 he co-founded the Oklahoma Indian Art League.

In 1981, as Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes PIO, he worked with production staff on the movie, "Windwalker." Since 1976 he had directed Indian dance programs for the State Fair of Oklahoma and in 1992 became director of the Western Expo in Oklahoma City.

He also was active in tribal politics and in 1974 was instrumental in obtaining legal protection for Native American craftspersons working with feathers.

Survivors include a daughter, a brother and a daughter whom he adopted in the Indian way and six grandchildren.

Source: The Watonga Republican, Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Published in: on May 24, 2007 at 3:15 am  Comments (13)