Artist produces real native american goods the old way | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Artist produces real native american goods the old way

Name: Ron “osob” Slocum

Born: July 23, 1941, Battle Creek, Mich.

Occupation: Native American artist (www.cherokeenickel.com) and reverend



Family: My wife, Terri Marie “Little Cherokee” passed away in 1991, very quickly and unexpected, from cancer. She was a full-blooded Cherokee from Oklahoma, and descendent from the original “Trail of Tears” migration to Oklahoma Territory. My father was a full blooded Cherokee from the North Carolina “Wolf Clan,” and my mother was of French and English decent. We were both raised in the full tradition of our people, thus our company slogan is “The Spirit Lives On.” We have one daughter, Christina, who is attending the American University in Egypt obtaining her education in archaeology.

When did you come to Lake Tahoe?: After Terri Marie’s death in 1991 I moved to South Lake Tahoe from Mission San Juan Bautista, Calif. We both loved it here so much, it was where I wanted to be. Lake Tahoe is truly a place of spirit.




Describe what it is you do: The tribal elders contacted Terri Marie and myself several years ago, asking us to produce authentic Native American items, as the market was being invaded by imported replicas. It was at that time we agreed to produce authentic Native American products, which we made available to all retail stores. Upon Terri Marie’s death, it was impossible for me to maintain the retail store, and produce all the products for the retail stores. Thus, I sold the retail store, and entered the production field on a full-time basis.

How did you get into the Internet business?: Due to many request, our Web site, http://www.cherokeenickel.com, was created two years ago. We have customers all over the United States, Germany, Europe, Switzerland, Sweden and France. The customers are of both areas, wholesale and retail.

What separates your products from replicas?: Our products are unique, as they’re done in the old traditional ways. No plastic beads and no neon feathers. The supplies used are traditional, and our natural willow hoops for our dream catchers are extremely popular with the accents of genuine turquoise on them. Our products start with dream catchers, hand knapped knives, tomahawks, custom bow and arrow sets, exclusive Mandella’s, all the way through war lances and medicine poles. They are all produced here at South Lake Tahoe.

Where did you learn to make these?: I was trained by my elders from the age of 5 years old.

The products sell themselves, as the quality and authenticity is truly visible to the customer. All products come with a signed card or tag attached to the item.

Do you find white culture embracing Native American culture?: I must say that the white culture has evolved over time to embracing the Native American culture very warmly. We have many of the white culture that now are very involved in our pow-wows, and share the deep feelings of family that we do.

What do you mean when you advertise on the Web site?: Medically speaking in the white culture, doctors say our genes are passed on to our children, and on, and on and on. Native Americans do that too, but the spirits of our ancestors are also passed on. Our love for family and friends, our actions of doing good to others, our smiles and our humbleness were taught to us by our elders, and we add their spirit to ours, thus: “The Spirit Lives On.”

How do you spend your free time?: I donate my spare time to a Native American crisis hot line. As a minister, I feel dedicated to helping my people as much as I can. Hopefully, I have helped some of them in their troubling times. This is what makes me the happiest, just knowing that I could be there for someone, at their time of need.

What is your pet-peeve?: Procrastination of any form.

If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?: It would have been Crazy Horse. He had such an enormous love of his people, and their safety, and their freedom.

Who are your heroes?: My heroes are those people who can be humble. Most feel that being humble is a weakness, but it’s not, it’s a strength. It’s a person who cares enough to listen, to help in time of need, and be a friend. It’s a person who gives, expecting nothing in return.

What advice would you like to extend to young people?: Know thyself. True knowledge of ones self opens paths to obtaining your goals in life. And most of all, the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself, as we harvest what we sow.

Have a 15 Minutes person in mind? Contact Tribune City Editor Jeff Munson at jmunson@tahoedailytribune.com


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