Thursday was a very special day for the Spirit Lake Nation, it was Lillian Shaw Day.

Thursday was a very special day for the Spirit Lake Nation, it was Lillian Shaw Day.
Lillian J. Rainbow Shaw, known by her people as Chon Wahpe Kasna Win, was born Dec. 5, 1913 to Bernard Rainbow and Carrie White Rainbow in rural Fort Totten.

She celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends gathering in the Red Willow Ballroom at the Spirit Lake Casino. Nephew Carl McKay, who heads Sioux Manufacturing at Fort Totten, acted as emcee for the occasion while Tribal Chairman, Dr. Leander “Russ” McDonald sat at the drum performing.

As leader of the Spirit Lake Nation McDonald officially declared the day as Lillian Rainbow Shaw Day and McKay read that proclamation as the three-hour event began while Lily’s daughter Ardis and grandchildren passed out gifts to everyone in attendance.
Representing the Tribal Council Mardell Lewis and Yvonne Dubois wrapped Lily with a star quilt and Tony McDonald, Deacon of Seven Dolors Church spoke about going to live with the Shaw family when he was a child and how they accepted and loved him, making him a part of their family.

Dr. Cynthia Lindquist, president of Cankdeska Cikana Community College presented Lily with a Pendelton wool blanket woven with the CCCC logo and talked about how important elders like Lily are to the people of Spirit Lake. She also honored Lily’s son, Andy, wrapping him in his own blanket for his service to the nation as a veteran of the Korean War. While fighting in Korea Andy was captured and spent more than three years in a North Korean prisoner of war camp.

The tribe’s official historian Louie Garcia talked about just a few of the changes Lillian has seen in her 100 years pointing out the things that didn’t exist when she was born that we take for granted, like electricity in our homes and bathrooms.
Honor songs were sung by the CCCC Drum Group and Delbert “Lefty John” Cloud. The first for Lily and the second for Andy and all veterans.

Everyone who spoke talked about Lily’s kindness, warmth, faith in God and love. Although confined to a wheelchair she clearly enjoyed the hugs and handshakes from the many family and friends who gathered to share her day. She was bright-eyed and alert throughout the festivities, smiling and welcoming everyone.

The proclamation:
“Whereas, a great respect is held for elders and their contributions over their lifetimes to care for their families, tiospaye (extended families), communities and the overall Spirit Lake Nation; and
•Whereas, our older elders experienced a time when everyone spoke the Dakota language and did their best to practice the Dakota way of life; and
•Whereas, our older elders experienced significant times of economic and societal hardship unknown in today’s society; and
•Whereas, on December 5, 1913, Lillian was born to Bernard Rainbow and Carrie White Rainbow in rural Fort Totten; and
•Whereas, on March 7, 1933, she married William Shaw, Jr., where they were blessed with six children and a marriage that lasted 20 years before William was called home to the Lord; and
•Whereas, she is blessed with 20 grandchildren, 88 great grandchildren and 17 great, great grandchildren; and
•Whereas, Lillian and her family exemplify through example a strong support of veterans, education, prayer and involvement with the church; and
•Whereas, the Spirit Lake Nation is inspired by her long life and offer her sincere best wishes for good health, happiness and prosperity into the future and

Now, therefore be it proclaimed, as Chairman of the Spirit Lake Nation, that Dec. 5, 2013, be proclaimed throughout the four districts of the Spirit Lake Reservation as Lillian J. Rainbow Shaw (Chon Wahpe Kasna Win) Day.

Signed by Leander R. McDonald, PhD., chairman, and attested by Nancy Robertson, Secretary-Treasurer.”