Victoria Gene Fortner, RH (AHG), fought a long battle with cancer and passed away peacefully on October 11, 2014. The odds, it seems, were stacked against her; her grandmother had breast cancer and her mother, Nancy, died of colon cancer.
Victoria — also known as PeatohahNape Tamsah — was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Of Shawnee and Scots-Irish descent, she was trained in conventional and traditional indigenous medicine. She worked in the conventional medical field for 15 years and was the owner of Shawnee Moon Herbaceutical. All of the herbal medicines that have been offered through Shawnee Moon during the past 20 years were formulated by Victoria, who had 40 years of experience identifying, gathering, preparing, combining, administering, and teaching about herbs and herbal medicines. One of Victoria’s students, Kerry Brock, will carry on her tradition and continue Shawnee Moon.
Victoria served on the board and as chapter coordinator of the American Herbalists Guild. She was also very proud to serve as chairperson of the cultural outreach program. Victoria was listed in the International Who’s Who in Medicine, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 1995) and was an herbal consultant for Missouri Botanical Garden/Shaw Arboretum on their Osage Garden project. She worked as a natural herbal consultant for skincare products at Regis International and was active in the International Phytopharmacognosy web group, which shares research on phytochemistry, herbology, and natural medicines.
She was an indigenous dancer, storyteller, counselor, and award-winning artist and craft-person. Victoria authored numerous articles addressing both alternative health and Native American topics in national and international publications. Two of her corn dolls are on display in the permanent collection in the National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.
Victoria was a founding board member of Inside Dharma, a nonprofit outreach organization dedicated to offering teachings, support, and encouragement to incarcerated and recently released individuals in a manner consistent with Buddhist principles. Inside Dharma also engages in special projects serving the homeless community, which includes many former inmates. She also volunteered in the Missouri prison system as a spiritual advisor for Native American inmates.
In addition, Victoria served on the board of Living Insights and Earth Circle. She was an integral member of many spiritual groups including Sundance and Star Dance. She was a ceremonial leader and teacher for more than four decades, and her many students continue to share her knowledge across the globe. Victoria lives in our hearts and prayers as we continue in our spiritual lives.
She is survived by her sister, Christine Heidenreich, and her nephew, Jeffrey, and his wife. Friends and family celebrated Victoria’s life on October 18, 2014, at DeClue Memorial Chapel in Potosi, Missouri.
—Terri Friend Potosi, Missouri