Mary Clown (“Wicahpe Mazaskazi Win”)

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Mary Clown (“Wicahpe Mazaskazi Win”)
June 2, 1938 – January 22, 2020

Mary M. Clown, 81, of Eagle Butte passed away Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Funeral services were held Thursday, January 30, 2020 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Eagle Butte.

Mary Magdaline Clown, Wicahpe Mazaskazi Win (Gold Star Woman), was born to James Clown and Anna Red Bird on June 2, 1938 at Thunder Butte Station, one of 15 children. From the ages of 5 to 8, she attended Thunder Butte Day School. For the first four years of her life, she lived seven miles north of Thunder Butte camp. Her father had a large garden, and she spent time helping him put up vegetables in their root cellar, and learning from her mother how to darn socks, make skillet bread, and gravy. Every year, the community would come in the fall before harvest and get vegetables from the garden. This is where Mary learned about taking care of your community. When Mary was 5, they moved to the old camp near Thunder Butte. Mary’s fondest memories of this time were trips to the river with Lillian White Wolf and her siblings and cousins on their horses, Pinto and Sally, where they would eat wild cherries and plums and swim. This is where Mary learned to be a “top notch” cowgirl.

When Mary was 9 years old, she was sent to the Cheyenne Agency Boarding School with her siblings, including her younger sister Phoebe. Mary described these as the hard years. Raised as a fluent Lakota speaker, learning English as a second language was not easy. She wanted to run away when they told her they were going to cut her long hair, but she stayed to watch over Phoebe. Mary remembered having to wash with Lysol soap and to kerosene her hair at least once a month. She saw her parents only once a year for the nine months of schooling, but each time they visited, her father would tell Mary she needed to get an education to help her family, and this would convince her to stay. Mary did stay and excelled.

 

 

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