Vernon Whitefeather, “Waabiginiw” which means “White Eagle”, age 72, of the Kingfisher Clan and Bemidji, Minnesota began his journey to the spirit world unexpectedly from his home on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. Vernon was born in Red Lake, Minnesota on March 26, 1947 to Amelia (Johnson) and Jerome Whitefeather.
Vernon grew up and attended school in the Red Lake area. He graduated as salutatorian of the Class of 1965 from Red Lake High School. A few months after graduation, Vernon enlisted in the United States Army. He served his country for the next three years, 11 months as a Medical Records Specialist in Vietnam. This was something he was very proud of, as anyone who knew him could tell you. Vernon later became the Squad Leader for the Red Lake VFW Color Guard and was very instrumental in the assembly of the Wall of Veterans that is on display at the Red Lake Nation College. After his military commitment, he graduated from Haskell Indian Junior College, and worked as a commercial fisherman and then as a steelworker. He continued to serve his community by becoming a History and Ojibwe Language teacher in the Red Lake School District for the next 25 years. He also taught language and culture at the Red Lake Nation College for two years. Vernon met and married Jean Fae (Renes) Whitefeather on August 8, 1981. They had a son, Kyle Jerome on November 29,1986. Ojibwe was his first language and he was a pillar of knowledge for the Ojibwe culture. He loved sharing, speaking and teaching the language and culture to anyone who was interested. He loved to spend his time reading, learning and teaching history, art and going to the casino, but his favorite was sharing time with his family and friends and being “Bock” (his grandsons name for him).
He is reunited with his parents; Amelia and Jerome Whitefeather, sister; Carolyn Whitefeather, brother; Alan Whitefeather, Kip Vasbinder, brother-in-law, nieces; Sherri Thomas, Megan Vasbinder, Bethany Perkins and several more relatives.
Family he leaves behind to cherish his memory are his wife; Jean Whitefeather of Bemidji, a son; Kyle (Holly) Whitefeather of Bemidji, sisters; Donna and Eunice Whitefeather both of Ponemah, brothers; Bobby (Kathy) and Melvin Whitefeather both of Ponemah, grandsons; Isaac, Aydin and Lukas Whitefeather, aunt; Betty Schoenborn, numerous nieces, nephews and many other family members and his friends.
A funeral service for Vernon will held on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 12 p.m. at the Bemidji Eagles Club, 1270 Neilson Avenue SE, Bemidji, MN. There will be a two-hour visitation from 10 a.m. to noon prior to the funeral service, also at the Eagles Club. Willie Strong will lead the service, during which time friends and relatives will be invited to share. Helping to lay Vernon to rest are Kyle Whitefeather, Kevin Patterson, Bruce Taylor, Ryder Whitefeather, Arrow Whitefeather and Tyus Whitefeather. Alternate pallbearers are Chris Johnson, Evan Thomas, Dave Renes, Larry Roy, Jr. and Matt Donat. Interment will be in the Family Burial Grounds at Ponemah, Minnesota following the luncheon at the Eagle’s Club.
Vernon’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