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FORT BELKNAP - Delmar J. "Poncho" Bigby, 60, an Army veteran and cultural adviser for Fort Belknap Community College, died Friday, April 4, 2003, at a Havre hospital from natural causes.

A wake service was Monday evening at the family home at Fort Belknap. The traditional funeral services were Tuesday morning at the family home with burial in the Pony Hill Cemetery at Fort Belknap.

Poncho was born Dec. 9, 1942, at Fort Belknap. He was raised and educated at Harlem and graduated from Harlem High School in 1960. Following high school he enlisted in the Army and returned to Fort Belknap after his discharge.

He married Mary Blackcow on Nov. 14, 1970. Poncho was given his Indian name "TaShunga Numba" meaning "His Two Horses." He started working as a ranch hand and farm laborer, then with the BIA in roads and then clerking in the realty, where he learned leasing and permits. He worked as a range clerk, range technician, soil technician, probate clerk, and became a tribal realty specialist. In 1979 he was appointed land-use planner. In February 1983 he became water and natural resource specialist and became in 1986 an acquisition and disposal specialist with Land Services. In July of 1986 he became the natural resource compliance officer/acting director and was appointed as director in 1988. In 1997 he became the liaison/planner for Tribal Natural Resources. He was the cultural advisor at Fort Belknap Community College. In 1999 at the National Indian Consolidation Conference in Oregon, Poncho was elected to serve as chairman of the Indian land working group.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Bigby of Fort Belknap; sons, Ken Bigby of Fort Belknap, A.J. Bigby of Harlem, David Bigby and Alex Doney Bigby Jr., both of Fort Belknap; daughter, Evelyn Bigby of Fort Belknap; brothers, Norman "Pudgy" Azure Jr. of Las Vegas, Nev., Michael "Sonny" Azure of Fort Belknap, Edward Azure of Arizona, Wayne Azure of Fort Belknap, Robert "Bobcat" Azure of Fort Belknap; five grandchildren.

Adams Funeral Home of Malta was in charge of arrangements.


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