Benay Nazhike Wegahbow (Stands Alone) Don Fairbanks, age 46, left this earthly plane on September 30, 2018 to enter and explore the next. Benay was born on September 4, 1972 to Deanna "Dee" Fairbanks in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Benay was originally named NazhikeWegahbow by his great grandmother's elderly sister, Mattie Blakely. As a young child he traveled across the country a number of times with his mother and was gifted with an interesting young life filled with some colorful and unique people. In California, when he was 4 years old, Dennis Banks became his Weh-eyh and gave him the name "Benay" (partridge or bird) which was later added as his legal name. Wilma Mankiller, who later went on to become the first Woman Chief of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation, became Benay's Godmother and self-proclaimed auntie. A few years after Alcatraz, Wilma and her daughters, another "auntie" and her daughter and Dee and Benay shared a house in Oakland, California. These were times of protests, rallys, sit-ins, take-overs and demonstrations...many of which young Benay was present for. About the time Benay was ready to start school they moved home to the "Rez" where, for the most part, they've remained.
Benay was highly intelligent, curious, a unique thinker, funny, dark, warm, multi-talented, big hearted, loved, and loyal to those he called friend. These past two years Benay underwent some challenging and (literally) dark times with blindness and health issues. For Benay, being who he was, these challenges just served to intensify his insightfulness and clarify his priorities, beliefs and passions. The one single passion that sustained him during the dark times was his desire to ride again...to get on his motorcycle and to ride high, wild and free. Before he left this earthly plane, he was able to fulfill his biggest desire, he was able to ride again..most importantly, to ride with his DMO brothers and sisters. Benay was one of the co-founders and the first president of DMO, the Descendants Motorcycle Organization. He was deeply proud of his involvement and participation in DMO's inception.
Benay expressed himself best in writing, both creatively for his personal expression and professionally as a grant-writer and planner. He was looking forward to returning to work at Northwest OIC in Bemidji when he was able. Benay was not a follower of any organized religion, however was a believer in the Force, in Crom, in Dudism, and even rose to the position of Chaplain of DMO by becoming a Pastafarian Minister. Over the years he officiated at the weddings of a number of friends. Benay was meant to be a Free Spirit and he was in heart and mind...his death broke the last link and now his Spirit is truly Free.
Benay leaves behind his mother; Dee Fairbanks, his biological father; Ronald Partridge, his sister; Jasmine (Brady Welch) TwoCrow Fairbanks, uncles; Don Fairbanks, Sr. and Dale Fairbanks cousins; LeRoy L. Fairbanks, Donald Fairbanks, Jr., Kari Fisherman, Michael Red Eagle, Sarah Fairbanks, many cousins, other relatives, and very good friends. He also leaves behind his faithful cat Battlecat, dog nephew; Toby (whom he raised and cared for) and dog niece, Midnight.
Benay was preceded into the Spirit world by his sister; Breanna Leigh Wakanabow, grandmother; Edna Whitefeather, grandfather; LeRoy B. Fairbanks and uncle; Robert Whitefeather.
Benay's Celebration of Life and Memorial is scheduled for 12:00 p.m., Saturday, October 6th, 2018 at the Veteran’s Memorial Building in Cass Lake, MN, to be followed by his Final Ride with DMO and Friends. Pallbearers for Benay will be, Mike Kornezos, Bill Ethier, Greg Anderson, John Robinson, Kenneth Copenace, Cory Medina, Bill May, and Kevin Campbell. His honorary pallbearers are the DMO Members, his motorcycle friends and other compadres, Eric Reed, Tahlia Palmer, and Heather Broda, His ashes will be scattered around the Final Ride Route, the "Fairbanks Compound" and at the Ellis Family Cemetery at a later date.
Benay’s care has been entrusted to Northern Peace Funeral Home of Walker, MN. Online condolences for the family may be left at www.northernpeace.com