George “Sonny Joe” Reed Jr., Aakchiiá Eehwiioosh

Friday, April 10, 2020
George “Sonny Joe” Reed Jr., Aakchiiá Eehwiioosh

George “Sonny Joe” Reed Jr., Aakchiiá Eehwiioosh/One Who’s Horse They Wanna Own, went to the other side camp next to his horses on March 28, 2020. The Big Horn District and the Crow Nation lost an incredible individual with his passing. He was born to George and Ida (Good Horse) Reed Sr. at the Little Owl residence in the Big Horn District on November 23, 1937 in a tent. It was Thanksgiving morning and the temperature was 40 below zero.

George grew up in the Big Horn District and attended schools in the Saint Xavier area. He attended Hardin High School and graduated from Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kansas. In high school he participated in basketball, track and cross-country. He ran with Billy Mills in high school races. He attended college at MSU-Billings, then Eastern Montana College, Oklahoma University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his master’s degree in Linguistics. In his early life, he was an avid arrow thrower, hot dancer and leader for the Big Horn District.

George married the love of his life, Edith Joan “Johnann” Half at the old Saint Xavier Mission Church on April 1, 1958. The couple made their home in the St. Xavier area. George was fortunate to have a true soul mate Johnann by his side to support him in all his endeavors. Together they participated in social and ceremonial activities such as Handgames, Peyotes meetings, Powwows dances and Tobacco dances, to name a few.

George was an avid cultural specialist in everything Apsáalooke. He was a strong advocate for Native American Rights and ceremonial practices. He was committed to perpetuating Native culture. He was an active member of the Native American Church and Tobacco Society. He sang with the Mad Dog Singers.

He worked as an Apsáalooke Language Linguist for Pretty Eagle School, Crow Headstart, the Crow Tribe, the State of Montana and many Bilingual programs in area school districts. He was named director of many of these programs. He was a member of the Crow Delegation that traveled to Washington, D.C. to fight for the Native American Religious Act. Sonny Joe was a lifetime member of the Crow Cultural Commission that was recognized by the state of Montana in 1972.

Sonny Joe was a member of the Whistling Water Clan and was a child of the Newly Made Lodge Clan. He practiced and upheld the Crow Clan and Kinship system. He was often called upon to offer prayers, words of advice and encouragement to his clan children and brothers and sisters. Due to Sonny Joe’s strong belief ways and commitment to Crow traditional practices, he was honored to give over 100 Crow children their Indian names.

Sonny Joe’s passion was raising and training racehorses. He owned the top breed of mares and studs. At one time, he owned Parvenire, the fastest horse in Montana. He served as the Crow Fair racing Commissioner in 1985. At the time of his passing, he was feeding and watering his beloved horses.

He was the #1 Bulldog fan and never missed a basketball game or team dinner. He was so proud of his grandson-in-law, Andrew Round Face, head coach of the Hardin Bulldogs basketball team.

He is preceded in death by his parents George and Ida (Good Horse) Reed Sr.; his daughter Georgina Joan Reed; his sons, George Reed III, Crawford Reed and Dean Pretty On Top; his sisters, Inez Reed Birdinground and Eleanor Birdinground; his brothers, Crawford, Harlan and Anthony Reed; his Tobacco Society parents, Warren and Fern Bear Cloud; his Tobacco Society children, Poecha Old Horn and Emerson Pickett; and special friends, Chester Bird Hat, Amil Little Light and Gordon Plainbull.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Edith Joan “Johnann” Reed; his sisters, Myrtle Howe, Roseann Reed, Annette Couture and Ruby Williamson; his Tobacco Society sisters, Mariam Old Coyote and Lorri Old Coyote-Not Afraid; his children, Cecelia (Morris) Big Lake Jr., Tina Pretty on Top, Ruby (David) Peterson, Henry (Alfretta) Reed, Beth Brush, Patricia Stands, Virginia Real Bird and Tasha Iron; his grandchildren, Heather (Curtis) Rides Horse Jr., Hillary Reed, Sunny (Andrew) Round Face, Jaivonna Rides Horse, Tatum Pretty On Top, Natasha Reed, Sharla (Gary) Plenty Buffalo, Joe (Nancy ) Reed, George (Cara) Reed, Henry (Whitney) Reed Jr., Kyle Reed, Keishia Big Lake and Tymer Big Lake and Richard Heavy Runner; great-grandchildren, Nechia Love House, Nishan House, Landen Real Bird, Bubba Rides Horse, Maliki Nanto, Keen (Shiny) WhiteWolf, Ta’Ron Hugs, Starry Knight Round Face, Julian Nomee, Charmer, Skylar and Kyrie Reed, Kashus and Shi He Does It, Joe Jr., Amari and McKenzie Reed, Grady, Rashon, Alayah Dawes and Gary Jr. and Famous Plenty Buffalo; his great-greatgrandchildren, Aubrielia and Aunalise WhiteWolf.

At the passing of his late clan brother, Lloyd “Mickey” Old Coyote, he took his clan brother’s children as his own Alvin, Dana, Wesley, Kevin and Lorri Old Coyote; his special friends Darrin Old Coyote, JP and Levi Yellowmule, Robert and Dale Old Horn, Emerson Bull Chief, David Bad Bear, Gale Three Irons, Hugh Matthews, Robert Flatlip, Larkin Chandler and Alfred Walks. He had so many special friends it is impossible to name everyone but know he valued each of you.

Our extended family includes the Reeds, Good Horse, Little Owl and He Does It families. We have a very large traditional family and we are sorry if we have forgotten you during this difficult time.

Graveside services were held on April 1 at Fairview Cemetery in Hardin, Montana.

Bullis Mortuary was entrusted with the arrangements.

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