Virginia Pigeon (Whitepigeon)
February 17, 2015
Pigeon (Whitepigeon), Virginia (Graverette); our beloved mother, quietly passed on to the spirit world this morning, February 17, 2015, with Family gathered around. She had a brief struggle with cancer that ended her life. Bii-mi-zaak-wod (Clearing Sky) zhinkaazo. Mishiike dodem (Turtle Clan) Saginaw Chippewa Anishinaabe kwe. Full blood tribal elder, educator and pipe carrier, she was 85 years young. Virginia raised 5 children, had 14 grandkids and 30 great grandkids (one more on the way soon). She even had a great great grandson which made five generations of her family. Virginia inspired and encouraged many people with her strong Indian values and teachings about Mino bimaadiziwin: the good traditional life. She danced in her traditional dress at many powwows. Her kids and grandkids carry on dancing and ceremonies that she taught them. Virginia retired from the Saginaw Chippewa tribe as Parent-infant Guidance Specialist. She earned her Masters degree in Education Administration at CMU, Bachelors in Secondary Education at Western Michigan University. Her work included Director of Education for Pokagon Potawatomi tribe, Michigan Indian Employment & Training Services coordinator, 8th grade English Teacher at Kalamazoo schools, Public Health Nurse for Grand Rapids Health Department and Nurse at Borgess Hospital. She served on the Board of Directors for Michigan Indian Legal Services, helped coordinate the annual SCIT powwow, started the tribal princess contest, started the tribal Baby Celebration, volunteered in Enrollment Dept & Election Caucus Committee and started Indian Education Program in Kalamazoo. Virginia was the last surviving child of six children of Amos Graverette and Sarah Hart. She married Edward Whitepigeon in 1949. Her son, Jeffrey Pigeon Sr. preceded her into the spirit world. Surviving children are Jerome Whitepigeon, Julie Whitepigeon (Ray Cadotte), Joy Perkins, Doug “Jon” Speer, Delores Bullbear of whom she considered her daughter and her beloved little dog, Neempsh. She leaves many loved nieces and nephews, extended family, everyone who called her “Ma” or “Mom” including many cousins and friends. Traditional Services for Virginia will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 21, 2015, at Clark Family Funeral Chapel in Mt. Pleasant with Bucko Teeple officiating. A feast will follow in Reflections Reception Center. There will be evening services on February 20, 2015 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Clark Family Funeral Chapel. Interment will follow in Riverside Cemetery in Hamilton, Michigan.