Chandler “Chancey” Tony Shakespeare, Jr. passed on October 16, 2021 in San Francisco, CA. Chancey was born on November 28, 1991 to Dawn Bitz-Gray and Chandler Shakespeare Sr. in Lander Wyoming. His Indian Name is “Man Who Travels Far”. Chancey is Northern Arapaho and Blackfeet. Chancey was given his Indian Name by Hugh “Popeye” Ridgley, based upon his early visits to the Primary Children’s Hospital for surgery. These trips were the beginning of a fascinating life that Chancey was sure to fulfill.
At the age of 2 Chancey began dancing as a grass dancer and was selected as “Little Junior Chief” of the Rough Riders Society of the Blackfeet Nation.
Chancey attended the Wyoming Indian Schools in Ethete, WY and Browning Public School in Browning, MT. He graduated high school in 2010 from Wyoming Indian High. Chancey continued with his ambition to move his body and participated in the local Tae Kwon Do classes to which he achieved a brown belt. He was forced to take a hiatus from this activity due to a hip injury. But this would not stop his goals. Chancey continued to participate in all school activities such as UNITY. Chancey was involved in Cross Country at Wyoming Indian High School and was on the Chief’s team when they won the State Championship.
During high school, Chancey took a trip with his family to Washington DC. It was during this trip that Chancey was able to experience the big city and learn about the civil rights movements, and touring the new museums that were first established such as the Holocost Museum and the Museum of the American Indian.
After high school, Chancey attended Casper College in the Liberal Arts program. It is this program that refined his skills as a dancer and participated in Broadway style productions, including “Social Motion” and “South Pacific”. He took many classes to improve his style, many of which was based upon the ballet teachings.
During his time in Casper, Chancey worked his way through school as a waiter for the Olive Garden. This was a very enjoyed job for him as he loved being around people. He would continue to make this a part of his career. He also worked as a waiter for the Wind River Casino at Red Willow and at various restaurants in San Francisco.
While Chancey was at Casper, he had ambitions to go bigger. He decided to make a change and move to the bigger city, seeking the first opportunity he had. The opportunity came when he auditioned for the TV show, “So You Think You Can Dance” in Los Angeles. His good friend Taylor Makeshine accompanied him on the trip.
More recently, while Chancey was in San Francisco, he was a part of the House of Rose and was crowned the Royal Baby Girl 2020 in the San Francisco Ducal Court on New Year’s. The mission of the House of Rose is to provide love, support, and a sense of belonging to the LGBTQ youth who have been disenfranchised or disowned by their own families. The Rose family carries on the tradition of the ball and drag houses of the 60’s and 70’s fostering and providing family structure and support to give queer and trans youth permission to grow into the best selves they can be in the face of oppression and disapproval.
You can see that Chancey’s vision was much bigger than everyday life we regularly experience, through his writings on Facebook and Instagram. These writings were exhibited in a journal and social media reflecting world views of disadvantaged persons including the Missing and Murdered Indian Persons and Black Lives Matter Movement. In July of this year, you can see Chancey honoring George Floyd’s mural in San Francisco by recording a dance in front of the mural. His vision and insight into this problem of the world was very deep and intelligent.
Chancey had many many friends and family in San Francisco, Wyoming and Montana. While Chancey will be sadly missed, he lived a lifetime on this earth, one month shy of 30 years. If you know him and the mission he was on, he will expect that he live through each and every one of us to carry on love and friendship to each other, regardless of identity. He would give you his last shelter or food to make sure you were okay. This is what Chancey was all about-eternal love, and that is what we are expected to do on this earth. Job well done Chancey.
Chancey is survived by his parents, and siblings: Donavon, Elizabeth, Morgan, Sianna, and Wyatt; his grandmother Roberta and aunt Merissa, and Grandpa William “Bill” Bitz.
Chancey’s family preceding him in passing on his paternal side are: Grandfather Tony Shakespeare; Uncle Maurice “Bozo” Shakespeare, Grandpa Frances Behan and cousin Jane Behan.
Maternal side preceding him is passing are: Grandmother Anna Bitz; Aunt and Uncle Pete and Rose Vandenberg; and stepfather Cody Running Wolf.
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Hudson’s Funeral Home and On-Site Crematory, 680 Mount Hope Drive, Lander, WY 82520