Dr. Burnett Lee Whiteplume Sr. was born June 3, 1946 in Fort Washakie Wyoming to Jacob Whiteplume and Angela (‘Nee Brown) Whiteplume. He was called home to Creator at 7:31 pm on February 21, 2019 at University of Utah Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT.
This announcement honoring the life of Dr. Burnett Lee Whiteplume Sr. 'Left Hand' Nowoot was provided to Indian Country Today by the family.
The Wake and Rosary will be held on Monday, February 25, 2019 beginning at 7:00 pm at the Great Plains Hall in Arapahoe, Wyoming. The funeral services will be held Tuesday, February 26, 2019 beginning at 10:00 am at Great Plains Hall. Burial will follow at St. Stephens Cemetery, St. Stephens, Wyoming with military graveside rites. A feast, traditional Arapaho ceremonies and giveaway to follow at the Great Plains Hall.
Dr. Burnett L. Whiteplume Sr. was raised on the Wind River Indian Reservation. He attended St. Stephens Indian School. Burnett graduated from Haskell Indian Junior College, Lawrence, KS, in 1964. Then attended Hartnell College, Salinas, CA, graduated with his A.A. Degree in Business in 1969. Burnett obtained his undergraduate degree and Bachelors in Business Administration at Washington State University, Pullman, WA in 1978. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Honolulu, HI in 1982. He continued his higher learning path to obtain his Doctorate of Philosophy in Education with emphasis on Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY in 2017.
The University of Wyoming has granted Honorary Doctorate Degree’s to Northern Arapaho Elders, Burnett was the first Arapaho Man to earn his doctorate. Individuals associated with Burnett obtaining his Doctorate include but not limited to were Tim Rush, Franciso Rios, Michael Day, Carol Bryant, and Carry Green. Dr. Angela Jaime was his doctoral committee chairperson.
Dr. Burnett L. Whiteplume Sr. served in the US Air Force and completed a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Burnett was an avid supporter of learning and encouraged his loved ones to pursue their education. Burnett’s doctorate emphasis was Curriculum and Instruction with projects which included a field trip to the Latin American country of Bolivia where they traveled to meet and work with the newly (at that time) elected President Evo Morales, of Bolivia. President Morales was the first Indigenous individual to be elected President where among his early administration initiatives was to design, develop and implement their public education system to be culturally-relevant and sensitive to the Indigenous people of Bolivia. Burnett met and got to know President Evo Morales through this project.
Burnett’s career includes Chief of Quality Assurance & Quality Control for Firestone Tire Company; Pacific Bell Telephone Company both in Salinas, CA; Supervisor for the Potlatch Corporation Lumber Mill, Lewiston, ID; MCH/WIC & Nutrition Director for the Nez Perce Tribe. He also served as Chairman for the Northern Arapaho Business Council in early 1980s. After serving on NABC, Burnett began a career with Indian Health Service at the Taholah Service Unit, Taholah, WA for the Quinault Tribe. Burnett then accepted a transfer and promotion to Indian Health Service Headquarters East, Rockville, MD with a subsequent transfer to the Albuquerque Area Office in Albuquerque, NM. Burnett returned home to Arapahoe, Wyoming to care for his father Jake Whiteplume.
Dr. Burnett Lee Whiteplume, Sr. brought with him a wealth of knowledge of the Indian Self-Determination Act and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (Public Law 93-638) which authorized the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and other government agencies to enter into contracts with, and make grants directly to, federally recognized Indian tribes. Dr. Whiteplume, Sr. shared and worked to improve all tribal government services for the Northern Arapaho Tribe to assume their federal cost share of the Indian Health Service allocation - which began Wind River Family Health Care. Burnett also brought knowledge of 3-party billing, which is utilized to generate revenue to sustain Wind River Health Care.
Under the authority of the P.L. 93-638, Dr. Whiteplume, Sr. secured programs for the Northern Arapaho which include: Department of Family Services, TANF, Child Support, General Assistance, Child Protective Services, Sanitation & Facilities. Additional projects included Northern Arapaho Language Revitalization such as: The Arapaho Immersion School, Inter-Tribal Conference on Language Status and Experience and organized annual Arapaho Language Preservation Conferences in Denver, CO.
Dr. Whiteplume, Sr. initiated a letter of intent to enter into a Gaming Compact with the State of Wyoming, following through with this endeavor, he submitted a letter of intent three times in good faith on behalf of the Northern Arapaho Tribe. With no response from the State of Wyoming after the three requests, under the authority of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Northern Arapaho Gaming was established. The 789, Wind River and Little Wind Casino’s were established and are in operation, generating gaming revenue for the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
Burnett and Jackie and sons in the late 1980s were members of the Northern Arapaho Pow Wow Committee. Other committee members were Ernest and Mary Rose Sun Rhodes and Family; Ben Oldman and sons Gary and Lance Oldman (& other Oldman brothers); Tommy and Marie (Behan) Oldman, Jamie, Anna, Pat, Richard and Kenny Brown; Daniel and Joan Oldman; SoldierWolf Family; Leo Addison. These members under the direction and leadership of Burnett set up and operated weekly bingo and sold pull tabs as a way to raise prize money for the Northern Arapaho Pow Wow held every August. Upon the first year of weekly bingo, this Northern Arapaho Pow Wow Committee together exceeded their goal of $20,000.00 for prize money. This committee continued to operate bingo for a number of years and had successful Northern Arapaho Pow Wow’s drawing big name pow wow drum groups, champion dancers in all categories from all over powwow Indian Country. Upon their success of operating bingo, this Northern Arapaho Pow Wow Committee had surpassed their yearly funding goals and began paying out grants to Northern Arapaho Tribal Members to assist travel expenses for medical appointments in Billings, MT; Casper, WY; Denver, CO; and Salt Lake City, UT.
Burnett was passionate about his work and a particular project among his favorite was Good Road of Life For Men. He met and worked closely with Clayton Small (Northern Cheyenne Tribe) whose dissertation thesis was Responsible Fatherhood. Burnett would help facilitate gatherings and secured a 5-year contract. He would facilitate focus groups. He was willing to stand up, share those teachings of men coming together, sharing teachings, stories, and healing. Making more commitments, young men who were divorced, got more involved with their families and learned to be a more active parent. Burnett, strong in our Native American Church, would incorporate those teachings. Burnett along with Clayton Small and Sandor Iron Rope facilitated a Responsible Fatherhood Conference with 300+ in attendance.
Burnett was a Road Man with the Native American Church. He shared this faith with his sons and family. Through the Native American Church, Burnett, sons, and family traveled and attended NAC ceremonies all over Indian Country. Burnett’s Northern Arapaho NAC Family (Hiram Armajo; Jerome Oldman; Sluggo Addison; Ben Oldman; Lance Oldman; Gene WallowingBull; Bobby Jo Goggles; Billie Joe Goggles; Darrell Hutchison; Patrick LittleShield; Dustin Blackburn; WinterHawk Felter-Oldman, Tommy and Marie (Behan) Oldman; Mary Rose YellowBear and many more) traveled often to run NAC meetings in Lapwai, Idaho for the Edion Edward, Jacob Benjamin, Burnett Lee, Jr. Whiteplume and Jacqueline Lee Wapato families. With the Native American Church faith, Burnett drew his strength and endurance to carry on with his work to contribute to the betterment of the Northern Arapaho People, who are his family.
Burnett was the drum keeper for the Eagle Society after the late Clark Trumball. This is a high honor given to Burnett by Arapaho Elders and this duty he strived to carry on and represent at all Eagle Society functions. Burnett held this honor in utmost regard and he strived to perform this role by giving his best at all times.
Burnett Lee Whiteplume, Sr. was married to Jacqueline Lee Wapato for 20 years, starting their life in Salinas, CA. He was a member of the Air Force and was a candidate for the NASA Astronaut Space Program. He chose to follow Jacqueline Lee Wapato to Salinas, California.
Burnett and Jackie are the biological parents to Edion Edward Whiteplume, Jacob Benjamin Whiteplume, Burnett Lee Whiteplume Jr. The Whiteplume sons were all born in Salinas, California. Burnett and Jackie separated in 1986 when the sons relocated with their mother Jackie to Lapwai, Idaho.
Burnett Lee Whiteplume married Ruby Elizabeth (Quiver) Big Medicine upon the final divorce of Burnett and Jackie in 1991. Burnett and Ruby raised Dustin Vance Big Medicine, Amiel Nick Quiver, Anny Quiver as family. Burnett and Ruby also took in Devin Big Medicine and Sienna Arthur. Burnett and Ruby provided a loving home sharing the NAC faith, love, hope and charity and became a blended family.
Survived by Sons: Edion Edward Whiteplume, Amanda Rose Brown (Chuck Slow Bear), Joshua, Jason, Jordon Slow Bear; Jacob Benjamin Whiteplume, Elizabeth Marilyn Whiteplume, BlueSkyla Raine Whiteplume, Gracie Ila Jane Whiteplume, Jacob Benjamin Whiteplume, Jr.; Burnett Lee Whiteplume, Jr (Ramona Marie Meanus Whiteplume) Andrea Jaci Whiteplume, Cynthia Nenah Whiteplume, Thomas Lee Whiteplume, Leland George Whiteplume.; Dustin Vance Big Medicine Sr., Dustin Big Medicine Jr., Devon Vance Big Medicine; Sienna Sharae Arthur, Ruby Big Medicine; Hunter Big Medicine; Amiel Nick Quiver Whiteplume (Marcel Oldman) Khalia Q. Whiteplume, Kenya Q. Whiteplume; Daughters: Anny Faye Quiver Whiteplume, Kendallyn Whiteplume, Koltyn Groesbeck; Heather Azure (Floyd) Madison Azure, Deric Azure, Daniel Azure, Floyd Azure III. Sisters: Susan (‘Nee Whiteplume) Crazythunder, (Bill Sr.) Bill Crazythunder Jr.; Joseph (Irene) Crazythunder; Angela (Brandon Layton) Crazythunder; Sandra (‘Nee Whiteplume) Brown, Sarah Jack, Blake Buckskin, Sally Ann Jack, Paisley; Stanley Jack, Jr., (kids); Susan (Doy) Jack, Letitia Jack, Makayla; Dwayne Wahtomy Jr. (kids); Alma Wahtomy, Stacia, Spencer. Numerous Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren and Great-Great Grandchildren. Many more, too many to name, those who knew and loved him.
Preceded in death by wife Ruby Elizabeth Whiteplume; parents Jake and Angela (‘Nee Brown) Whiteplume; brothers Douglas Arthur Whiteplume, Randall Joseph Whiteplume, Franklin Sun Rhodes. Sisters: Levina (Dorothy) (‘Nee Whiteplume) Gambler; Katherine (‘Nee SunRhodes)Eagle Staff; Patricia (‘Nee Sun Rhodes) Arthur. Maternal grandparents Joseph and Susan (‘Nee Littleshield) Brown; paternal grandparents Maurice and Sarah (‘Nee Tyler) Whiteplume; Uncle and Aunt Ernest and Ruth (‘Nee Friday) Sun Rhodes; Tommy and Marie (Behan) Oldman.
On-line condolences for the family may be made at theDavisFuneralHome.com.
Services are under the direction of the Davis Funeral Home.