LODGE POLE - Dora First Chief Helgeson, "Cheen-Jaw-Na-Hoonga-Weya," meaning Chief Calf Woman, 89, died Tuesday, July 1, 2003, at her residence west of Lodge Pole.
A wake, rosary and pipe ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. today in the Medicine Bear Lodge at Lodge Pole. The funeral Mass will be on Thursday at Medicine Bear Lodge
with burial following in the Lodge Pole Cemetery.
Arrangements are be Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.
Dora was born to Sam and Charlotte (Black Bull) First Chief on Feb. 13, 1914, in Lodge Pole. She attended the old Fort Belknap Boarding School, then attended Chemewa Indian School. She received her GED in 1974 at Fort Belknap.
Dora married Raymond Helgeson on July 19, 1938. She was a lifelong resident of Fort Belknap Reservation.
Dora was the oldest member of the Medicine Bear Clan. Known as the matriarch of Lodge Pole community, she championed many issues and concerns for her many relatives, friends, and neighbors. She enjoyed living her American Indian culture and participated in all aspects of it.
Her hobbies included sewing, picking berries, canning and hunting.
She was a bilingual aid for the Assiniboine language, the Fort Belknap College bilingual curriculum adviser, chairwoman of Senior Citizens Advisory Board in Lodge Pole, member of the Sewing Club and cook at Lodge Pole School. Dora was named elder of the year in 1990. She believed education made Indian people's lives better and encouraged young people to continue with their education.
Survivors include her children, Charlotte (James) Kelley of Havre, Mary Ellen (Edward) Messerly, Gene Louis (Nancy) Helgeson and Kenneth Matthew (Florence) Helgeson, all of Lodge Pole, Leon James (Rita) Helgeson of Malta; 12 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren; brother, Arnold Allen of Harlem.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Raymond Helgeson; son, Raymond Allen; daughter, Bonita Nell Olney; sisters, Regina Allen Heller and Jenny Cliff Birdtail; brothers, Albert Cliff, Thomas Cliff, Robert Healy, Percy Healy, John Allen and William "Babe" Allen.