Hazel Frances Whitebird (Miskwaa Bagonegiizhigookwe), age 84, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at the Zeba Indian Community in L’.Anse, Michigan. She was born on November 18, 1934 to Paul Austin Basina and Rosella Gokee at the Hayward Indian Hospital. Hazel attended St. Mary’s Indian Mission School in Odanah, WI. She finished school and went on to attend
WITC in Ashland receiving degrees in Secretarial Science and Stenography. She was an avid homemaker. She worked for the Bad River Housing Authority, Bureau of Indian Affairs, as Benefit Specialist for Aging, Bad River Tribal Secretary, Civil Service Examiner, and was Chairperson of the Wisconsin Indian Elder’s Association. She was awarded the Indian Elder of the Year in 2000. She received the award at the annual Indian Summer Festival in Milwaukee, WI. Hazel dedicated herself to help improve the living conditions of Indian Peoples’ health, education, and welfare. Hazel loved to play bingo, go to casino, travel to pow wows, sing country music, and visit with her family, grandchildren, friends, and community.
Miskwaa Bagonegiizhigookwe married Chief Albert L. Whitebird Sr. of Bad River on July 2, 1955. Together they had eight children. Hazel is survived by her sons Albert Jr., William, and Peter. Her four daughters are Gladys (Robert) Genschow, Mavis (Vernon) Kingbird, Catherine (Dana) Jackson, and Brenda (Leland) Whitefeather. Also, her brother Raymond Notbohn of Milwaukee and sister In -law Loren Whitebird. She has numerous nieces and nephews. She has 27 grandchildren (8 adopted), 39 Great Grandchildren (2 adopted), and 8 great- great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Albert Sr., one daughter Angeline Whitebird Sweet, one grandson William Jones, one great granddaughter Songbird Whitebird , her parents, grandmother Agnas Gokee Lemieux, special auntie Phyllis DeBrot, John and Annie Frost Cloud (Ma & Pa), Patricia Whitebird, numerous other relatives, brothers, sisters, foster family and In laws.
Visitation services will be held at the Bad River Community Center on Sunday, September 22nd at 5:00 p.m. Prayer service at 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Odanah, WI on Monday, September 23rd at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be at the Bad River Cemetery. Feast and Celebration of new life will follow afterwards @ the Bad River Community Center.
The Jacobson Funeral Home was entrusted to assist the family.