OBIT: Demus M. McDonald, "Wasicu Ska"

Demus M. McDonald, “Wasicu Ska”, our loved relative was called home to be with our Lord and Savior during the early morning of Oct. 25, 2020, in a Fargo, ND, hospital. Many prayed for his recovery and Heavenly Father saw he was tired and led him home. He fought covid-19 for the last few weeks and journeyed on unexpectedly. Visitation was held at St. Michael’s Catholic Church on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020 beginning at 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. with a Rosary and Scripture Service at 7 p.m. The procession to St. Michael left at 5 p.m. on Thursday from City Plaza in Devils Lake. Mass of Christian Burial was at St. Michael’s Church on Friday, Oct. 30 at 10 a.m. with Reverend Paul Schuster celebrating the Mass. Demus was laid to rest in St. Jerome’s Catholic Cemetery, Crow Hill District, rural Fort Totten. Demus was born on Aug. 14, 1944, in Fort Totten, ND, to Michael and Evaline (White Thunder) McDonald. He attended school at St. Michael, three years in boarding school and five years in day school. He went onto graduate from Maddock High School in 1963. Demus was a lifelong member of St Michael Parish, very faithful to the Lord, and prayed for many others. He went to Los Angeles, CA, in 1965 on the BIA relocation program and met Ardis Crowheart. They married and had three daughters, Jackie, Anita and Yolanda. Demus married Bernadette Feather on Feb. 28, 1978, in Crookston, MN. Their union was blessed, and vows renewed on July 7, 1997, at St Michael’s Parish, St. Michael, ND. They have four daughters, Elrae, Jana, Joann, Justine. They adopted sons, Michael McDonald and Tony Goodbird. Demus also became dad to Joe and Clarice Windyboy. They raised their family at Spirit Lake Nation. Through the years, Demus enjoyed many employment opportunities in California, North and South Dakota. He found lasting enjoyable employment as a bus driver for Four Winds School from 1989 to 2020. He was well known and liked by his students. He drove the shuttle bus for Spirit Lake Casino for several years. Demus enjoyed his rodeo days as a bull rider and saddle bronc rider. He was a state champion in high school rodeo. Rodeo riding took him throughout Montana, South and North Dakota, hitting the rodeo circuit. Demus loved his family and after his wife of 28 years, Bernie, passed on May 5, 2006, he continued to provide a home for his family and had custody of three of his grandchildren. He worked past retirement age to provide a home for them and his daughters. In 2005, he became involved in the effort to change the name of Sully’s Hill Game Preserve to White Horse Hill. The effort continued for 15 years until 2020, when the name was officially changed, partly due to the persistent discussion with the legislature by Demus and other Spirit Lake elders. His life’s work was to perpetuate the Dakota way of life, values, language. Demus was an ikce wicasa who lived a simple life, worked hard and willingly shared his knowledge. Demus served on the Preservation Committee, Wodakota, other elder boards, the Dakota Language committee, and the Recovery and Wellness Advisory Board. He served on the local school board and on the Spirit Lake Tribal Council as Fort Totten representative. He supported the Sunka Wakan Aku program and Cankdeska Cikana Community College language classes. Demus is well known as a very humble and kind man. He had a great sense of humor, often sharing stories with friends and relatives at every opportunity. He was a fluent Dakota language speaker, and people counted on him to be a source of knowledge and went to him for language definitions. He was a living Dakota dictionary. He learned traditional values and our Dakota ways from his grandmother, Kunshi Mary (Black Shield) Brown Shield. Kunshi raised Demus, brother, George and sisters, Sandra and Dinah, after the passing of their mother in 1953. His first language was Dakota, and he spent many summers with Ukana John Sherman, living out in the country and learning cultural ways, medicines and ceremonies. Demus loved and respected the Dakota elders, especially Sam Cloud, who served as his best man. He also cherished his friendships with Sub Mallard and Uncle Solomon Sherman. Demus was often seen driving around with elder friends, visiting and speaking the Dakota language and learning the history of the Dakota people. There was great storytelling and laughter when the elders gathered. Demus nurtured his relationships with his loved ones, sharing stories, songs, pictures with his nieces and nephews. He bestowed nicknames on many. Deksi Demus enriched our lives by sharing his knowledge and family history. He researched our genealogy and believed it was important to know where we come from. Our relatives were waiting to greet him in the spirit world; the love of his life/his wife, Bernie; his mother and father, Kunshi Mary; his sisters, Adeline Trottier, Priscilla and John Oldridge, Joann Finley, Kathleen and Tim Cavanaugh, Sandra McDonald; and brothers, George and Leander McDonald; brother-in-law, Roy Aceveda; and his grandchildren, Amanda Hart and Charles Rozelle Jr. Demus will be remembered by; his daughters, Jackie and Bob Ereth, Anita McDonald, Yolanda and Don Smith, Elrae Mazakahomini, Clarice Windyboy, Jana, Justine, Joann McDonald; sons, Michael McDonald, Tony Goodbird, Joe Windyboy. He loved all his grandchildren and was especially proud of Brayden Dubois, who is attending UND. Demus supported his efforts to succeed in college. He has 25 cherished grandchildren: Michael White Thunder McDonald, Inez Bailey, Madison Morning Star, Garrett Hart, Preston McDonald, Kristen Fox, Carol McAndrews, Lisa Huber, Anthony Jr and Luke Taken Alive, Shooting Star Old Rock, Holden and Shelby Rozelle, Michael Eddie, Kaila, Mitch, Shelli Potts, Raven Mazakahomini, Jessa and Bobby Brown, Brayden Dubois, Ezra, Ruby, Josiah McDonald-Bull, Elais McDonald-Bull, Sofie Carry Moccasin; 11 great-grandchildren, Lauren, Raymond, Nathan, Kendra, Elliot, Vincent, Jeffrey, Colton, Rooney, Syanne, Anpo Wicapi to win. Demus will be missed by; his sister, Dinah Aceveda; and his brother, Tony and Vina McDonald; brother-in-law, Wayne Trottier Sr and Greg Feather; sister-in-law, LaVern and Alvin Bear; many nieces and nephews, extended family in the McDonald, White Thunder, Sherman families and friends and relatives throughout Spirit Lake Nation, Sioux Valley Manitoba, and Standing Rock will miss him very much. Active Pallbearers: Russell McDonald, David Trottier, Wayne Trottier Jr. Kevin Brown, Conrad Cavanaugh and Michael White Thunder. Honorary Pallbearers: Aloysius Cloud, Kenny Dunn, Oliver Gourd Sr., King Walking Eagle, Eugene Hale, Beatrice Allery, Catherine Howard, Paulette Driver, Marva Tollefson, Natasha Gourd, Joe Lawrence Sr., Onna Littleghost, Phaedra Jackson, Karen Grey Eyes, Bob McKay, Wynita Chaske, Greg Feather, Helena Littleghost and Robert Kojak Thompson and the fellow Four Winds Bus Drivers.

Posted online on October 30, 2020