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Red Lake spiritual leader Thomas Stillday dies

Red Lake spiritual leader Thomas Stillday dies


By Molly Miron

The Bemidji Pioneer


Article Last Updated: 10/15/2008 12:18:20 PM CDT


Red Lake spiritual leader Thomas Stillday Jr. died Tuesday at Indian Health Service Hospital in Red Lake.


“We lost Tommy J. this morning,” said Red Lake Chairman Floyd “Buck” Jourdain Jr. Tuesday. “I just can’t say what a loss he is to our community.”


Stillday, 74, of Ponemah, was a prominent member of the Red Lake Nation as Tribal Council member, Ponemah representative, School Board member, powwow dancer and singer, adviser to the Tribal Council and spiritual leader.


He was also a 12-year Army veteran and combat engineer in the Korean War, where he and other Anishinaabeg used Ojibwe like the famous Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. His Ojibwe name is Ozaawabiitang, which means Yellow Water.


Stillday was also the first American Indian chaplain, and the first non-Judeo/Christian spiritual leader, to serve as Minnesota State Senate Chaplain. He was elected unanimously by the Senate 67-0 on the first day it convened Jan. 7, 1997 for a two-year term.


“He was basically a Native American clergyman, and he was our chief spiritual adviser,” Jourdain said. “There are people who come from all over the world to seek advice from Thomas Stillday.”


“We lost one of our lead spiritual people here from Red Lake,” said tribal member Bill May. “It’s a sad day here in Red Lake. It just seems sad in the air. It’s a devastating loss to the whole community. Broader than the community, he was known to a great many people across Indian Country.”


Stillday was a mentor to many, especially the rising generation, Jourdain said. “He got them started and pointed in the right direction.”


Stillday taught respect, caring for one another and the power of prayer, Jourdain said. He said Stillday taught that every gathering should begin with acknowledgement of the Creator.


“On the very day he was to offer a prayer for our nation, he walked on,” said Red Lake Secretary Kathryn “Jody” Beaulieu.


“To Tommy J., all prayer was good,” Jourdain said.


“Thanks to the family for sharing him with so many people for all these years,” said Beaulieu. “He’s such a pillar of the community. Our hearts are heavy.”


As is customary on the second Tuesday of each month, the Tribal Council was called to order for a general meeting. Council members acknowledged the Red Lake Nation’s loss of Stillday and closed the meeting, Jourdain said.


“There will be no business today until we lay our elder and brother to rest,” Jourdain said.


Stillday’s traditional Indian service will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at Ponemah Elementary School. A wake will begin at 7 pm. Thursday at the school and continue until the time of the service. Burial will be in the Family Burial Grounds in Ponemah with the assistance of Cease Family Funeral Home of Blackduck.

Steve Blake passed away

At 7:20 a.m. this morning Steve Blake passed away after treatment during a lengthy hospital stay at Fairview University Medical Center in Minneapolis his family said.

  • Thursday, September 4 – 4 p.m. A Celebration Wake for our departed brother will take place at All Nations Church located at 1515 E. 23rd Street in South Minneapolis .  If you have images of Steve, or artistic renderings by him that you would like to share as we celebrate his life – please bring them.  (They will be returned to you afterward.)  In lieu of flowers, monetary donations are welcome to help offset service expenses.  For those interested in contributing to food-serving efforts, please call Susan Bellecourt at (612) 735-2607 for more information.
  • Friday, September 5 & Saturday, September 6 [Exact time TBD]  Mr. Tommy Stillday will lead Midewiwin services at the Little Rock Community Center located about 5 miles west of Red Lake, MN. (218) 679-3594 or (218) 368-2172 North of Bemidji , follow Highway 89, then go west on Highway 1; see Center on left across from Beaulieu’s Store.
  • Saturday, September 6 [Exact time TBD]  The funeral will take place at the Little Rock Community Center west of Red Lake, MN (218) 679-3594 or (218) 368-2172.


William (Bill) Carter
American Indian Community Advocate
City of Minneapolis
Direct: (612) 673-3028
Fax: (612) 673-2599
Strength and answers (to you.)


Carol kratz has passed away.

Carol J. Kratz

Kratz, Carol J. Age 77 of Minneapolis, born June 25, 1931 in Medford, MN, passed away suddenly July 16, 2008 after recently being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Preceded in death by first husband, Alvin. Carol is survived by second husband, Charles Sargent; son, Greg (Sharon) Kratz; daughter, Deb Kratz (Tim Scott); grandchildren, Tim and Jennie Kratz and Kate and Will Scott; step-children, Eric (Connie) Sargent and Lynn (Kevin) Berner; step-grandchildren, John, Carl and James Berner; Erica Sheppard and great-granddaughter, Kiara Fisher; brother, Donald (Carol) Tuttle; sister, Dorolyn Sohner; sister-in-law, Grace Tuttle and many other family members and friends. As a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, neighbor and friend, Carol was always a present and caring force for her family, friends and so many others. She loved the land, animals, and caring for her family and many friends. She was a tiny woman with a very large heart and fighting spirit. Throughout her life and the many adversities she encountered, she remained true to her ethical beliefs and actions, and inspired those around her to do the same. Funeral service, 2 pm, Monday, July 21, 2008 with visitation one hour before at Henry W. Anderson Mortuary, 3640 23rd Ave S., Mpls. There will be a gathering following the funeral at Wabun Picnic area in Minnehaha Park. Please help us celebrate her life among her beloved oaks, creek and Mississippi River. Private interment at Ft. Snelling Cemetery Henry W Anderson (612) 729-2331 obit.HenryWAnderson.com

Published in the Star Tribune from 7/18/2008 – 7/20/2008



Remembering Sheila White Eagle

Remembering Sheila WhiteEagle

Dec. 2, 1948 – June 7, 2008

The Saint Paul Area Council of Churches is mourning the loss of Sheila WhiteEagle, who lost her four-year battle with breast cancer on Saturday, June 7. Sheila was the Director of the Saint Paul Area Council of Churches’ Department of Indian Work program for more than 20 years and worked for the program for 36 years. The funeral will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 12 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Saint Paul, MN. The DIW office will be closed Monday, June 9 through Thursday, June 12.


Under Sheila’s leadership, DIW has expanded from the Emergency

First Lady Laura Bush poses with Renita Picotte (SPACC) and Sheila WhiteEagle (DIW)

First Lady Laura Bush poses with Renita Picotte (SPACC) and Sheila WhiteEagle (DIW)

Services food and clothing rooms to include parenting and youth enrichment programs and diabetes education. Other career highlights include:

Began the Elders Transportation program with the American Red Cross

Worked with the community to build an Elders Lodge, now located in Saint Paul

For ten years, worked with the Church World Services CROP Walk event to raise awareness and help with local and global hunger

Worked with community on 13 annual University of St. Thomas pow wow events

In 1989, Sheila launched the American Indian Parenting Program

In 1992, Sheila began the American Indian Youth Enrichment after-school and summer programs, which last summer was recognized by First Lady Laura Bush

In 1993, Sheila was recognized with the McKnight Award

2001, Sheila led the Family Education Diabetes Program, which has grown to now include education for youth and a partnership with the University of Minnesota


To make a gift to the Saint Paul Area Council of Churches in memory of Sheila WhiteEagle, please click here.

Brittany Carlson has passed away.

Brittany Carlson, John Oakgrove’s niece.



Date Time

Apr 28, 2008 4-8 pm


Visitation Location

Bradshaw Funeral Home – Minnehaha




Date Time

Apr 29, 2008 11 am


Service Location

Bradshaw Funeral Home 3131 Minnehaha Ave S Mpls., MN 55406




Pauline M. ( Helseth ) LaClaire Obituary

Pauline M.  ( Helseth ) LaClaire

LaClaire, Pauline M. (Helseth) Age 84, of Mpls. Survived by husband of 65 years, Russell; children, Bruce, Curt (Sandy), Vicki (Pete) Eckman, Douglas (Kathy), Susan (Charlie) Foty, Renee Foss and Dennis (Karen); also 25 grandchildren and 24 great- grandchildren. Funeral service Tuesday, 1 PM, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 100 Silver Lake Road, New Brighton, with visitation one hour prior to service at church and Monday, 4-8 PM at: Washburn-McReavy Northeast Chapel 612-781-6828 2901 Johnson Street NE, Mpls
Published in the Star