Michael L. Smith passed onto his next life on February 14th, 2018 in Vallejo, CA. He was born on August 29th, 1951 to Lawrence and Winnifred (RedEagle) Smith in Sisseton, SD.
Michael loved his Native American Heritage as he proved through his work with Native American people beginning as a peer counselor at the Seattle Indian Center, a Cultural Education Coordinator for the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation. It was here when he envisioned and produced the first American Indian Film Festival (AIFF) in 1975 in Seattle, WA. The AIFF became the oldest and most prominent showcase in the world for Native American talent. The American Indian Film Festival screened and showcased American Indian and Canadian First Nations media makers. The annual event went on to be sponsored by the San Francisco Indian Center and the National Congress of American Indians. In 1979 the AIFF was formally established in California and held its 42nd annual festival in November of 2017.
After he moved to California he met the woman he would spend the rest of his life with, Lucinda (Cindy) Spencer of the Navajo and Laguna Pueblo Tribe. That union gave them a daughter, Mytia. In August of 2011 Mytia married Sebastian Zavala of Quechua, Peru. Of this union Mike received another gift on May 22nd, 2016, Mayeux Zavala. Mike loved his family very much and will be missed tremendously by them. Mike’s final desire was to come home to be buried by his mother at the RedEagleCemetery in Fort Kipp, MT.
Michael is preceded in death by his parents , older sister Jennifer (Smith) Kingswan, aunt Joyce (RedEagle) Tootoosis, uncle Jack Tootoosis, uncle Oliver RedEagle, uncle Milton RedEagle, maternal grandparents Lloyd and Jennie (Smith) RedEagle, aunts Rita Belgarde, Catherine Blount, Alice Buck Elk, Clara Blount, and uncle Philip RedEagle.
He is survived by his wife Lucinda (Cindy) Spencer, daughter Mytia (Sebastian) Zavala, granddaughter Mayeux all of Oakland, CA, sisters Faye Smith of Grand Ronde, OR, Nancy (Jan) Burgess of Tacoma, WA, and four brothers : Gerald (Chief), Woodrow, Quentin and Marty all of Seattle, WA., aunts Reba Ogle of Poplar, MT and Gloria (Bob) Garcia of San Jose, CA, nieces Lisa Smith of New York, Rita Kingswan of WI, Gail and Tessa Grant of WA, Sarah Burgess of OR, Olivia Burgess of WA., nephews Eric Jordan of AK, Marlon Smith of WA, Courage Kingswan of WI and Doug and Maurice Burgess of WA and his extended family of Fort Peck Reservation.