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Oneida celebrates Rose’s 100th birthday

Posted on Sep 6, 2018 by
General News

Kali photo/Christopher Johnson

Oneida Nation citizen Rose Kerstetter celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Anna John Resident Centered Care Community facility surrounded by family and friends. Oneida Business Committee Chairman Tehassi Hill, Left, and Vice Chairman Brandon Stevens presented Kerstetter with a Pendleton blanket.

(Oneida, Reservation) ~ Rose Skenandore Kerstetter will have lived a century on September 5, 2018. She celebrated her birthday with her beloved family and friends and many dignitaries that were invited to her 100th Birthday party at the Anna John Residential Care Center on the Oneida Reservation on September 5. In attendance was the Oneida Business Committee, Congressman Mike Gallagher, a representative from Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office, and representatives from the WI Department of Veteran Affairs and WI Women Veterans Coordinator. Rose has received Birthday Congratulations from Governor Walker in advance, as he will not be able to attend.

“This is very exciting,” Kerstetter said. “It’s hard to tell you how I feel. But I know one thing and that is that people are good and if it’s a reason to celebrate they will do it. It feels wonderful.”


Rose was born in 1918, the daughter of John and Lilly Skenandore. She attended and graduated from Flandreau Indian School in South Dakota and Haskell Indian College in Haskell Kansas.

At the tender age of 60, Rose returned to school and became a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, with an Associate Degree in Fine Arts.

Rose is an accomplished artist in the art of Iroquois Pottery. She has created award winning pieces since 1987 and has her pottery on exhibit at the Fenimore Art Museum in New York, the American Institute of Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM and many other museums, including the Oneida Nation Museum.

She entered the United States Army in 1943 and earned the rank of Staff Sergeant before her honorable discharge in 1946.

Following her military commitment Rose returned home to Oneida and married Lawrence Kerstetter. The Kerstetter family were quite mobile and lived in the Midwest, New England, they spent about 20 years in Connecticut and in 1970 settled in the southwest.

Rose has three children, Joseph, Tom and Dori, and five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

In 1997, Rose moved home to the Oneida Reservation and began to expand her love for working with her pottery and passing on her knowledge and skills to her young Oneida apprentices who were eager to learn.

“Who makes it to 100 these days,” Dori Gilbert, Kerstetter’s daughter, said. “To me her legacy is mostly about her pottery. She has other accomplishments but the fact of what she did with her pottery and coming back to Oneida to teach others that (art) is, to me, her legacy.”