Erma Jane Moccasin / Baaátchilash

Thursday, December 17, 2020
Erma Jane Moccasin / Baaátchilash

Erma Jane Fighter Moccasin, 81, of Lodge Grass, Montana left for the Other Side Camp on October 30, 2020.

Baaátchilash / Owns Good Fortune was named as an infant per Crow Tradition by her elder brother, Shows His Gun. Jane as she was affectionately called was born to Miles and Mary Margaret He Does It-Fighter in Crow Agency, on September 9, 1939.

She was a proud member of the Greasy Mouth Clan and a daughter of the Big Lodge Clan. She was a direct descendant of Chief Long Elk.

Jane was a strong proponent of the Crow culture, who possessed extensive knowledge of Crow traditions and the Crow language. She loved and respected all things Crow, participating alongside and supporting her family when it came to practicing their faith in the Sacred Tobacco Society, honoring clan fathers and mothers, the Sweat Lodge, traditional Crow fasting, the Native American Church, Dancing Through Camp during Crow Fair, and the Sun Dance religion.

Her adopted Kiowa parents were Clyde and Blanche Ahtape, whom she acquired by way of the Native American Church. She was also a devout Catholic who served as a lifetime member of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in St. Xavier, Montana. She looked forward to the Carrying of the Cross walk from St. Xavier to Crow Agency with other members of the parish every Good Friday, still participating despite her age.

Jane was the matriarch and eldest member of several large families including the Loves to Fight, Got Plenty Beads and He Does It families.

She strengthened and supported her large family and was frequently called upon for prayer, support, and advice. Jane was frequently honored by her clan children for the many good wishes she made on their behalf. She was very well respected and bestowed many Crow names to children as well as adults. Jane was a traditional lady who gave the best of gifts to the wives of her brothers, sons and grandsons to show her love for her menfolk.

Jane grew up in the Big Horn District attending schools in St. Xavier and Hardin before graduating from Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kansas in 1957. Upon graduation, she attended Haskell Vocational School earning a certificate in Office Management. She returned to the Crow Reservation and married her husband, Wayne Moccasin.

Erma worked in various capacities, which included the 17H&1 School District, Community Health Representative transporting dialysis patients, and the Crow Tribe before settling to become a homemaker and rancher in the upper Lodge Grass Creek Valley.

She worked alongside her husband completing the daily tasks of ranching. Erma was well known for her cooking and fed many crews during branding season and shipping time. Many of the cowboys and cowgirls would come to work just to enjoy her cooking. She was the lady who loved to prepare traditional dishes and took pride in serving the best of meats.

Erma always made sure that she gave a good quality of life and that her loved ones were always provided for. She was a lady who respected the land and instilled those qualities in her children. As she prayed over the morning water during a peyote meeting her words were, “with the land we have a home to return to, the land gives us our wellbeing, it provides us life and without it we have nothing. We protect this sacred land on which we dwell and treat it with the utmost respect because it gives us all that we need to live good, this tobacco when offered to the creator carries our prayers that bring us fortune…”

That was the individual that Erma was, she had great insight on life and made wishes to see each new season come to pass with prosperity. When asked what her greatest accomplishment was, she replied, “My children, I was able to see them all graduate from college and provide a life for themselves better than I could have ever imagined.”

Her favorite time of the year was the annual Fighter Family Christmas Party. She provided the best beadwork for her family and made sure they paraded through the camp during Crow Fair to give thanks for another successful year and to make wishes to see another season.

She was very generous and welcomed all into her home and was known to be a very neat and tidy woman. She showed class and taught the young women of the family how to maintain a home and be a respectable Apsáalooke Woman, just as her mother did for her. Her demeanor was calm though her presence was strong. She was a courageous and fearless woman. She maintained her strength and a fighting heart even until her final days.

Her Crow social life included playing hand games with the Reno Cowboys, winning the oldest female player of the championship team award. She looked forward to dancing during the Crow Fair and New Year Celebrations and other powwows.

She loved to attend the sporting events in which her family competed. She hauled her daughters to rodeos all over the country. Erma loved to travel both domestic and abroad. During her many travels, she found herself at the West Wailing Wall in the Holy City of Jerusalem. As she prayed, she heard a song in the distance, which resembled that of a Tobacco Society Song.

She is preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Lucy Little Light, Nora, Frances and Sylvia Fighter, and Audrey Deputee; brothers, Cecil, James Robert, Floyd, Maurice and Guthrie Fighter, Elmer Hill Sr.; her fathers, Rides Pretty and James Fighter; aunts, Well Known Mare, Lucy He Does It, Stella Old Coyote, Anna Walks, and Agnes Little Owl; paternal grandparents, Loves To Fight and Comes From Above; maternal grandmother, Helen Cross Bear; maternal grandfathers, Frank and Martin He Does It; special cousins, Dorothea Adams and Ernestine Birdinground; and special friends, Elsie Pretty Paint and Marlene Thomas.

One month after Jane’s passing, her husband Wayne followed her to the Other Side Camp.

She leaves behind her daughters, Lynna (Shawn) Smith, Michelle Moccasin, and Mandy (Danny) Plainfeather; her son, Solon (Tanya) Moccasin; a grandson whom she raised, Riley (Natasha) Singer; grandchildren, Clint (Leslie), Cash and Brittany Smith, Emily Pease, Jerome Moccasin, Malieya (Chester) Nomee III, Rose, Ty, Elise and Gabby Moccasin, Tessa and Caelan Plainfeather; 14 great-grandchildren; children acquired through the Sacred Tobacco Society, Jerome and Lois White Hip, Scott and Lauren Medicine Horse, and Cyle Old Elk; nephews, Adrian Bird, Miles (Rochelle) and Aaron (Anita) Fighter, Darrell (Randean) Little Light, Allison (Vandy) Bouyer, and Maurice (Mavis) Mountain Sheep Jr.; nieces, Gladyce (Woodrow) Brien, Shirley and Eizabeth Fighter, Cheryl (Levi) Yellowmule, Bertha (LaGrant) Black Eagle, Janelle Little Light, Teri Sue (Les) Thomas, Jennifer (Bruce) White Jr., Alfredine (Eddy) and Vera (Myers) Brien and Sarah (Clyde) Red Woman; brothers, Alfred (Roberta) Walks, Willie and Benito Brown, and Fred Smart Enemy Jr.; sisters, Beldean (Blaine) Small, Roseline (Ronald) Yellowmule, Edith Reed, Clara Hugs, Lena and Connie Brown, Twila Grant, Stella Not Afraid, Verlie Walks, Nora (Dennis) Big Hair, Loretta Three Irons, Clarice (Spencer) Denny, Georgianne Bad Bear, and Janice Knows The Ground; her best friend, Laura Pickett; close relatives, Raphaelle Real Bird, Vera Half, Virginia He Does It, William He Does It, Manual Coversup, Henry “Hanks” Rides Horse, Ursula Russell, Christine DeCrane, and Helen Old Coyote.

The extended family includes the He Does It, Thomas Bull Over The Hill family, Hugs, Lena Comes Above family, Otto Rides The Horse family, Old Elk, Smart Enemy, Big Hair, Long Tail, Five, George Brown family, Audrey Deputee family, Aurelia White Antelope family, Xavier Bear All Time family, Josephine Good Horse family, and the late Joe Reed family as well as the descendants of Long Elk and Pretty Eagle.

Graveside services were held Nov. 3 at the Crow Agency Cemetery.

Bullis Mortuary was entrusted with the arrangements.

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