John Hiawatha ‘Slyfox’ Oakley, 80, Founding Member of Haverhill Powwow Event

John Hiawatha Oakley, known as “Slyfox,” 80, died Dec. 17 at his home surrounded by his loving family.

Born in Mashpee, he was the son of the late Ellsworth Oakley, a tribal chief of the Wampanoag Indian tribe, and Eadella (Acevedo) Oakley. Raised and educated in Mashpee, he lived there until serving in the United States Army. After his service, Oakley moved to Haverhill in 1958. He was employed at J.P. Tannery in Haverhill, Borden Chemical as master batch operator and American Training where he was a support counselor for mentally challenged adults for over 14 years. He was also a competitive body builder and competed regionally for many years.

Oakley was very proud of his Indian heritage and gave back tremendously to the culture. He was very active in promoting American Indian culture throughout the region and was one of the founding members of the first powwow in Haverhill over 30 years ago. He was devoted to his wife and family, a proud father, grandfather and great-grandfather. His legacy will live on through his family and the American Indian culture he helped to promote. He will be missed by everyone who knew and loved him.

Oakley is survived by his wife Claire M. (Theriault) Oakley of Haverhill, his children Terry John Oakley, Philip Comeau, Marie Barnes, Donna Comeau, Patricia Walker, Susan Comeau, Ricky Comeau, Thomas Comeau, Dianne Anthony, Laureen Lavallee and Nelson Lavallee, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a brother Ellsworth Oakley of Cape Britton, a sister Christine Oakley of New Bedford, and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brothers Ronald Oakley and Irving “Chico” Oakley.