Our beloved sister Lena Belcourt. “E-o-skah-Ski-wahk Ma-Sko-Ski Sk-wew” Green Grass Woman, passed away Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, after spending a wonderful year with us upon her diagnosis of kidney cancer in June 2011.
Lena was born June 10, 1959, in Japan, at Johnson Air Force Base, to Levi and Chieko Belcourt. She attended various elementary schools in Kansas, Greece, California and Box Elder, Mont., where she graduated early to attend Northern Montana College. Lena also attended the University of Montana and the University of North Dakota. Lena was married to a special person in her life for several years, Danny Arthur, whom she met at NMC. Lena enjoyed working for the Rocky Boy Health Board as a policy analyst. She also worked for the transition team for Gov. Brian Schweitzer during his first term as governor of Montana. Prior to that, Lena worked for the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) in Washington, D.C., for several years, before coming back to Montana, where she lived in our family home in Parker Canyon on Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation.
Lena will forever be remembered as “Auntie” by Levi, Buckley and Millie and their friends who loved her, and “Gramma” by Katherine, Ki-i-w, Ki-Mi-Wun Windy Boy. Her family will miss their “Auntie” dearly. We will especially miss her fantastic sense of humor and her devotion to her family and friends.
Lena was preceded in death by her parents, Levi Gene Belcourt and Chieko Iida Belcourt; her paternal grandparents, Levi Belcourt Sr. and Cecelia Corcoran; her maternal grandparents, Obachan and Ojichan Iida; her uncles, Gerald Chief Belcourt and Duane Belcourt; and her aunts, Elsie Geboe, Peggy Nagel and Tammy Frost.
She is survived by her two brothers, Daniel and Gene Belcourt of Missoula; her three sisters, Lisa Belcourt of Rocky Boy, Pam (Mangus) Belcourt of Missoula, and Laurie Jorgensen of Boulder, Nevada; her adopted brothers, Alvin Windy Boy and family, Frank Laber and family, Jonathan Eagleman and family, and Maurice Jordan of Seattle; her nephews Levi and Buckley Belcourt; her niece, Millie Belcourt; her adopted nephews, Shane Laber and Beau Willis of Missoula; her uncles, Merle and Robert Belcourt, and Kermit Corcoran; her aunts, Myrtle, Linda and Luanne Belcourt, and Leota Standing Bear; and her special friends, Laurie Tynes, Lisa Lone Fight, Anna Whiting-Sorrel, Rose Butterfly, Fawn Tadios, Sandy Sorrell, Miranda and Lisa Laber, Natalie Flores and Elinor Yellowrobe.
The family would like to thank all the Chippewa Cree Tribe and Business Committee and the Rocky Boy Health Board and staff for all the support over the years and during her illness. Special thanks go to Kathy and Fred “Doc” Avis for their support and friendship, to Dr. Bryan Martin, her oncologist who fought alongside her during her illness, and to the staff at the Sletten Cancer Institute and Benefis Hospital.
A wake will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 2, at the Catholic Church on the Rocky Boy Reservation, and funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 3, at the Catholic Church. Interment will take place at the Belcourt Family Cemetery in Parker Canyon.
Services have been entrusted to Holland & Bonine Funeral Home.