Phylene Bigman / Daséekakaapíash

Thursday, August 26, 2021
Phylene Bigman / Daséekakaapíash

On August 17, 2021, our mother Phylene T. Bigman, of Hardin, Montana, was called home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

She was born to the late Alice Mae Tobacco, and Benjamin Bigman Sr. in Crow Agency, Montana. Phylene’s Apsaalooké name was Daséekakaapíash / Arrowhead Necklace, which was given to her by her grandfather the late Perry Pretty Paint. Phylene was a Piegan Child of Big Lodge.

Phylene spent her childhood in Crow riding horses, playing sports, and cruising around with her sisters. She was later sent to Orem, Utah to live with the Oliphant family, who she stayed in contact with throughout the years. She came home and started her senior year and graduated from Hardin High School with the class of ’69.

Phylene traveled across Montana following basketball games and sometimes a powwow or two, she loved to go yard selling to pick up trinkets and items she could put on her shelves or hang on the wall from her travels. She also had a green thumb and had plants everywhere in her home and office. She was a seamstress, as well as a talented beader, her aunt the late Eloise Whiteclay taught Phylene and her sister Susie her craft, a skill they passed down to their children. Phylene used traditional Crow designs in her beadwork, her work was always beautiful and precise. She beaded many different projects, including an outfit for her daughters’ Crow head start parade; she was best known for her peyote stitch pens and made many for people all over the U.S.

After Phylene’s sister Susie passed away in 2001, she stepped in to raise Susie’s six children. She continued to love and support them until her own passing. Phylene always helped her family, whether it was monetary or with a helping hand, she always made sure anyone who needed any help was assisted and the people she cared for did not go without. She would give as much as she could to support those in need at a moment’s notice. Phylene was a prayer warrior, always receiving prayer requests and calls from those around the state.

Phylene started work on an assembly line for a sportswear’s factory, sewing sporting garments in the early 1970s. She later started her lengthy career as a payroll clerk, beginning at the Crow Carpet Mills, then moving onto the Crow Tribe’s accounting, finance and Abandoned Mine Lands departments for 26 years. She later worked as the payroll clerk for Little Big Horn College.

In 2015, Phylene was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, which she defeated. Unfortunately, she had to let her job go at the college and she remained home for the remainder of her life. She once again picked up her beading and started helping others with projects, as well as creating some of her own.

Phylene will be missed by many, but those closest to her will always remember her love for them. Through heartache and tragedy, her faith was tested, but in the end, she conquered and persevered accomplishing her life’s goal in instructing her kids and grandkids to never give up, pray through it, and never lose faith in God.

Mom, Heaven is your home now. We will see you again, with arms wide open, full of love, peace, and joy. We will carry on in our faith, holding onto the Lord’s hand. We will see each other again. Love you always, your babies.

Phylene was proceeded in death by her parents, Alice Mae Tobacco and Benjamin Big Man Sr.; her aunts, Carol Ann, Eloise, Peggy Whiteclay, Laura Hedoesit, Lizzie Whitefox, Phyliss Spotted Horse, Alma Cashen, Darlene Eastman, Frances Fallsdown, Annie, Pearl and Myrtle Bigman; uncles, Vernon Jr., Guy and Phillip Whiteclay, David and Hugh Plenty Hoops, Bernard and Thomas Jr. Tobacco, Edgar, Mike and Arthur Bigman; sisters, Tsianina “Susie” Bigman Springfield, Roberta Bigman, Regina Spotted Horse, Bonnie and Karen Whiteclay, Racheal Beatty, Gladys Jefferson, Brenda Hedoesit, Phyliss Wellknown, Tiata Notafraid, Alvira Alden; brothers, Howard, Monte Ray and Phillip Jr. Whiteclay, Thomas, Jr. and Ira Sr. Badbear, Alvie Morrison, Carl Venne, Ben Bigman, Eddie Alden; nephews, Martin “Junior Boy” and Stanley Spotted Horse, Monte Vidal Whiteclay, Asa “T.O.” Driftwood and Carl Venne Jr.; nieces, Marietha Cook, Shani Heather Springfield, Loretta Wellknown; and grandchildren, Tsianina Shani Carole Stops, Baby Boy Springfield.

She is survived by her children, Cody Wilhelm, Cheney, Francis “Little Guy”, Edwin “ET”, Jeremiah (Gina) and David Springfield, Crissy (Jules) Stops, Frank (Jade) Whiteclay, Holly (Chad) Galloway, Nicole Whiteclay, Winona (Jason) Realbird Pretty Weasel, Whitney (Zac) Bernardis Birdinground; sisters, Lorrie (Eric Brien) Big Man, Karen (Bill) Eastman, Claudia (Tim) Bernardis, Verna Koch, Cheri (Mark) Realbird, Veronica Whiteclay, Sherri Lou and Joyce Laforge, Francine Small, Debbie Gust, Mary Tenbear, Rebecca Buffalo, Mari Rogers, Ferrol Bigman, Colleen Blackeagle, Ann Bigman, Nellie (Nelly-Cat) Badbear; brothers, Benjamin Bigman Jr., Larry Tobacco, Frances, Richard, Harold, Vernon, Hugo, Tyrone, and Franklin (Rebekah) Whiteclay, Benito Morrison; and nephews, Bernie, Delbert, Jesse, Seth, John, Anthony, Jordan, Justin, Thomas Sr. and Chey Whiteclay, Joey, Arthur, Mark, Lance and David Bigman, Eric Bigman Brien, Aaron Brien, Geoffry Ross, Jeffrey Allen, Billy Jr. and Billy III Eastman, Benito “Kidd” (Althlea) Morrison, Acorn (Anastasia) Holdsthenemy and Wesley Jefferson Jr.; nieces, Delauria and Leitha Spottedhorse, Rhonda Jefferson, Natalie Cauliflower, Melodee and Dawn Reed, Colleen and Roxanne Wellknown, Gail Anderson, Rhea (Phileo) Little Light, Patricia “Trish” Beatty, Autumn, Lissa, Jolee, Peggy, Jaime and Michelle Lucree Whiteclay, Mary Bigman Rock, Sarah Hawk, Luella Brien, Tammy, Ashley, Emma and Rebecca Bigman, Maureen and Mariam Eastman, Sunshine and Caroline Morrison; grandchildren, Ashtin, Skyla, Scout, Pace and Jalaya Wilhelm, Paula, Cheney II, Anthony, Canaan, Anihkan and Liliana Springfield and Ezekeil and Paetin Stops.

Phylene had a special relationship with her youngest grandbaby Mai’Em Rideshorse whom she would sing worship songs with; she had countless grandchildren, nieces and nephews from her extended Apsaalooké family, if we missed you during our time of grief, please forgive us. Phylene’s extended families include the Whitefox, Spottedtail, Brien, Birdinground, Realbird, Laforge, Alden, Hoops, Takes Enemy, Badbear, Whiteclay, Tobacco, and Bigman families.

Funeral services were held August 23, 2021 at the Bullis Funeral Chapel in Hardin. Burial followed at the Hardin Fairview Cemetery.

Bullis Mortuary was entrusted with the arrangements.