Melvina Northbird, “Zhoonii’aawasek“ which means “Money Making Woman“, age 74, of Cass Lake, Minnesota journeyed to the spirit world on April 23, 2018 from Sanford Hospital in Bemidji, MN. She was born on December 7, 1943 in Buck Lake, MN, the daughter of Louis and Adella (Stillday) Northbird, Sr.
Melvina attended the Buck Lake Country School and Bemidji High School and completed her GED studies in 1964. She then attended Cosmetology School where she received her license. Melvina worked at the Greenside Beauty Shop for about five years when she met Richard Allen Burnette. They started a family together, after Richard was born, she took a position with the Chippewa National Forest as a cartographer for two years. Melvina worked for the Cass Lake/Bena School in the Indian Education Department on the Johnson O’Malley project for about five years. Over the next eight years, Melvina focused her time of raising her growing family. While raising her five children, she would help Richard in the sawmill of Richard Burnette Logging. When all her children were in school, she took a job with the Leech Lake Housing for the next three years. She decided that she enjoyed working at the school and went back as a para-professional in the English Department. She spent ten years there and while there she took a part-time job at the Palace Casino, which eventually became her full-time job. Melvina enjoyed cleaning cabins during the summer months for the Birch Villa Resort and doing some light housekeeping for Teal’s.
Melvina was an avid reader who liked to do crosswords, words with friends, sudoku and other puzzles. She also enjoyed watching cooking shows and trying the recipes out. Melvina liked taking long rides in the woods, fishing, gathering, visiting with family and friends, going to sporting events for her children, other family members and friends and attending performing arts programs for her grandkids. She especially enjoyed going to the pow-wows to watch her grandkids dance, supporting family and attending ceremonies at the Ponemah Lodge with her family and friends. Melvina enjoyed supporting and volunteering in her communities by organizing The Northbird Fry Bread food stand, which provided funds for local area students for internships and The Northbird Family Handrum Competition, in honor of family and friends that journeyed on. Melvina’s generosity and kindness will be forever remembered.
Melvina is welcomed to the spirit world by her parents; Louis and Adella Northbird, Sr., son; Scottie Bowstring, brothers; Jerry “The Bear”, Gordon “Uncle Mack”, Georgie “Georgie Pordgie” and Louis “Acey” Northbird, Jr., sister; Arlene “Sampson” Northbird, grandparents and other relatives.
Those she leaves behind to cherish her memory are sons; Richard (Justin Rierson) Northbird of Hutchinson and David Northbird, Sr. of Cass Lake, daughters; Victoria and Sheila Northbird both of Cass Lake and Tina (Kuna) Northbird of Bemidji, brothers; Gene “Sauca Doo” and Patrick “Moozininii” (Cheryle LaDuke) Northbird, sisters; Lois “Dolly” and Brenda “Ms. B” Northbird, grandchildren; Bubba “Makoons” and Sissy “Little House” Grayhawk, Julia “JuJu” Pacheco, David “Baby Dave” Northbird, Jr., Rhianna “Nana” Northbird and Keegan “Lil Sweetheart” Dreher, many aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends.
An overnight wake for Melvina will begin at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, April 26th with traditional ceremonies to begin at 7:00 p.m. and will continue until her traditional service at 10:00 a.m., Friday, April 27th all being held at the Veteran’s Memorial Building in Cass Lake, MN. Zac Earley will be her Spiritual Advisor. Pallbearers for Melvina will be Rodney “Nodney” Northbird, Shannon “Grasshopper” Northbird, Gordon “Brother” Northbird, Jonas “Johannesburg” Northbird, Dale Bohn, Tony “Bologna” Wind, Henry “Hanky Do” Ross and John “Johnny Cake” Mayberry. Her honorary pallbearers are Brad Northbird, Pat Haugen, Mike “Moo Cake” Bowman, Wilbur Stillday, Jake “The Snake” Greenleaf, Ben Bonga, David “Muskrat” Manuel, Ty “TyTy” Stately, Gene “Duecy Duece” Northbird, Jr., Donald “DK” Fairbanks, Sr., Stan “Stan the Man” Howard, Thomas “JR” Reyes, James “Sausage” Reyes and Robert “Bobby Earl” Fairbanks. Interment will be in the Northbird Family Cemetery at Cass Lake, MN following her Friday service.
Melvina’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