Stacey J. Coverdale

Stacey Coverdale receiving her diploma from President James Freedman
Stacey Coverdale receiving her diploma from President James Freedman

Stacey Coverdale died in an auto accident on June 12, 1988, hours after graduation from Dartmouth.  A member of the Shinnecock tribe of Long Island, New York, Stacey was active in Native Americans at Dartmouth.  For a senior project, she and Jennifer Anderson ’88 developed a multi-media exhibit about Shinnecock women.

Matthew Biberman remembers:

I can close my eyes and see her peacefully still. …We had lived across the hall from each other as freshmen in Hitchcock. Though she was absolutely stunning, she found Dartmouth cold, a difficult place for a girl from Philly who was African America/Native American. So it was that we often spent weekend nights talking together alone in her dorm room. From the beginning Stacey loved to talk about her dreams. She believed strongly in their significance, and enjoyed bringing her traditional knowledge of their meaning to her efforts at interpreting them. Graduation night she told me she had just dreamed of beautiful white birds, flying away. The dream had filled her with such happiness that I envied her slightly but even more—I was simply thrilled for her. She was ready to move on, eager to experience what would come next. The next morning when Jody Washburn told me over the phone that Stacey had died, I suddenly saw those birds as announcing something else. And ever since Stacey’s birds have always been a comfort to me..

Stacey encouraged me, and did it in simple but forceful words… That was Stacey. She was willing to help me, her other friends and family–everyone she cared about. One of the strongest memories I have of Stacey is of her standing on the steps of Parkhurst during what I think may very well have been the first Take Back the Night march at Dartmouth. I stood a couple of steps up and behind her. I watched her take the mic and demand that our College’s administration do more to make the campus a safer place. She was inspiring. She wore a black leather jacket that was a favorite of hers. I had given her a few motorcycle rides and we shared a joke that she could wear her biker jacket with conviction. These are the little details I am fortunate as a friend to remember. There are other memories, of course. Walking through her exhibit of photos of the women of her tribe. The few days I spent with her on the rez. Watching her dance at the Pow Wow. But most of all, the time spent talking, usually listening to music, often in a dark room, both of us staring up at the ceiling. Thank you, Stacey. You are remembered and loved by those of who were lucky enough to have you pass through our lives.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.