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Old 02-16-2005, 01:45 AM   #1
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The Bay Area's Grandma

My Grandma, my mother's mother, Muriel (Cante Suta Win) Waukazoo passed away on February 6, 2005.

Muriel “Grandma” Waukazoo - passed away peacefully on February 6, 2005 at the age of 88. Born Muriel Florence Blacksmith in Rosebud, South Dakota to Gilbert and Mary (Prue) Blacksmith, she is preceded in death by her husband, Philip Waukazoo. Muriel is survived by her beloved children, Mary Carr, Phyllis Waukazoo, Sally Gallegos and her husband Ted, Martin Waukazoo and his wife Helen, Francis Waukazoo and his wife Anne and Joseph Waukazoo and his wife Marlena; 19 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren, and 9 great-great grandchildren; and many adopted children and grandchildren.

Known to many simply as “Grandma”, Muriel’s Lakota name was “Strong Hearted Woman” and that’s exactly what she was. A dedicated American Indian and civil rights activist, she participated in and held prestigious positions on many committees and organizations, from grass roots to governmental, including the Native American Parent Committee, Western South Dakota Community Action, Advisory to Native American programs of Black Hills State College, United Urban Indian Council, National American Indian Mental Health Committee, Indian Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Commission, United Native Americans, Rapid City Indian Service Council, South Dakota’s Low Income Council and American Indian Coalition Citizens, and the Rapid City Democratic Precinct Committee and the American Indian Movement (AIM). She was also the founder of the Indian Welfare Rights Organization.

In 1970, Muriel joined other women elders in Rapid City, South Dakota in organizing a protest at Mount Rushmore to assert the Lakota claim to the Black Hills under the 1868 Treaty. This group of American Indian women invited the United Native American and the American Indian Movement to help with the takeover of Mt. Rushmore. In following years Muriel was actively involved at the confrontation at Custer, South Dakota and the occupation at Wounded Knee in 1973. Muriel's activism in the 1960's and 1970's was a great display of her life’s work -- to overcome the prejudices and injustices within the Indian communities.

In recognition of her efforts on behalf of her people, Muriel was voted Indian Woman of the Year in 1971 from the United Natives of America and Indian of the Year in 1975 from the San Mateo Indian Council.

She was a remarkable and generous person who was devoted to keeping Indian traditions alive. Her passion for living was contagious and will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her.

Family and friends are invited to attend a Wake Service at 7:00 p.m. on February 10, 2005 at Assumption Church, 1100 Fulton Avenue, San Leandro. A Funeral service will be held on February 11, 2005 at 10:30 a.m. at Assumption Church. Interment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward
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