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JoAnna Lydia Frenier, WaSuSnaWin, was born on September 13, 1934, in rural Veblen, SD, close to Sica Hollow- Mayansan Church area, to Theodore Frenier and Thelma (Hill) Frenier.  JoAnna “Ina” began her spirit journey on March 11, 2024, surrounded by family and loved ones.

JoAnna shared many fond oral history memories of her childhood with all her children and Takojas, over the years.  JoAnna spoke very highly of her kin, especially her Kunsi WaSuSnaWin, along with her Unkana’s Amos Frenier and Enoch Simon.  JoAnna remembered riding horse bareback along the hills of Sica Hollow with her siblings, gathering herbs, roots, and other medicines with her Kunsi, she remembered a lot of people that had traveled far to visit her Grandparents on a regular basis.  A time in history where native religious practices were shunned and held in careful secrecy, from the Superintendent of the Sisseton Agency.  At the young tender age of 4, Mom remembered being taken to Wahpeton Indian Boarding School and she did not return to her family and homeland, until 10 or so years later.  JoAnna’s first memories of school were harsh as her first primary language was Dakotah.  After Elementary school, JoAnna continued on to Flandreau Indian Boarding School, where she completed her GED.

In the 1950’s, JoAnna and her small family went into the federal government relocation program to Minneapolis, MN.  Then, JoAnna became a young widow with four (4) young children, and she also lost both of her parents in a fatal car accident.  JoAnna returned home and had seven (7) more additional children.  JoAnna was a devoted Mother and homemaker, all of her adult life; she was generous beyond measure to all that entered her home with; food, shelter, friendship, and spiritual love.  JoAnna could be described as a woman who came from a time in the past, that some wouldn’t understand.  JoAnna endured much trauma throughout her lifetime, but she remained respectful, enduring and forgiving to all in her life.  JoAnna was a modest, caring, compassionate Dakotah woman that had unconditional love for all her children and she kept her blended family together, celebrating birthdays, holidays, and other traditions on a regular basis.

Family was everything to JoAnna, presence was the best gift of all.  As her family size grew, JoAnna became a young Grandmother and she began to take into her care, her Grandchildren, raising some of them as her own.  JoAnna was a beautiful, awesome lady that was well respected by all of her family.  JoAnna took great pride in all of her children’s academic achievements, sport competitions, and cultural activities.  As her children and grandchildren left home, JoAnna took up some college courses and found Dakota Connection Bingo!  Her favorite pass time to socialize.  In the summertime, JoAnna loved attending local pow wow’s, especially when her son’s would sing, the Ridge Runners and her Grandchildren would dance in competitions.  JoAnna was blessed to be here as a Great-Great Grandmother, and she will be missed immensely for years to come.

JoAnna is survived by 10 children; Janice WhiteShield, Donna DuMarce, Levi DuMarce, Kathleen DuMarce, Dolores Allen, Dale Frenier, Jonathan Gill, Reynold DuMarce, Kenneth Gill and Beverly Gill, 47 grandchildren, 107 great grandchildren, and 27 great-great grandchildren.

JoAnna was preceded in death by both of her parents; Theodore Frenier and Thelma Hill-Frenier, her husbands, and 1 Son – Darrell Frenier, 3 Grandsons – Timothy LaBatte Jr., Byron DuMarce, and Jesse DuMarce and 5 Great Grandchildren – Steven Sharpfish Sr., Marvin Stone Jr., Silas Johnson, Cassie Lufkins, and Zell Lufkins.

1 Guestbook Entry

  1. Lucy Cloud

    “Ina” “Kunsi” we will miss you. My children were blessed in having you as their Kunsi aka Granny.


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