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October 19, 1926 – Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Service Information
The Community Center in Old Agency Villa
Monday, January 25th
10:00 A.M.

Visitation Information


Sarah Marian Blackthunder, Indian Name: Ta Canku Wakan Winyan – Her sacred road woman, was born on October 19, 1926 to the parents of Joseph Blackthunder and Libby Bartlet. As I spoke to her about her sisters and brothers, she recalls, Eli Blackthunder, Beulah Blackthunder, Elijah Blackthunder, Steven Blackthunder and Agnes Blackthunder.

Sarah’s memories of growing up where she lived and went to school. She recalls living near a little town called Ortley, SD and going to school in a one room school house. She and her sister use to walk a mile to the Ortley Day School, going through a pasture where a “mean bull” grazed. She and her sister would run to the farmer’s house where they had a mean dog. It was a time when there were no roads and no cars. These were memories of when she was 8 or 9 years old.

Then she remembers moving to Big Coulee where she went to school at the Big Coulee Day School. She had fond memories of walking through the woods to get to the school.

She eventually ended up at the Wahpeton Indian School (the name back then). Her memories of Wahpeton were from the age of 11 years old. She only went to the 6th grade, but she’s more intelligent than most of us. She reads, writes and understands everything needed for surviving in this world.

Don’t let her small frame fool you! She’s tougher than nails!! She worked in the fields of the farmers nearby when there were only horses. This seemed to be a way of life, being in the fields picking potatoes and harvesting the wheat bundles.

She married Sheldon William Bird on October 9, 1950. Eight children were born of this marriage, Laurel, Sharon, Yvonne, Sandra, Veronica, William, Catherine and Allen. It seems unnatural that three daughters, Yvonne, Sandra and Veronica and one son, Allen Joseph (Joey) have all gone before her time. However, she has had the pleasure raising grandchildren, Sheila Bird, Aaron Bird, and Sheldon Bird (age 12). Sarah, at 83 years old continued to raise her grandson, Sheldon. This is amazing!

Sarah was married 28 years to Sheldon William Bird. It is ironic that he died at the age of 83 on October 9, 1978 (the same day they were married).

Along with working in the farmer’s fields, Sarah actually had a job that she thoroughly enjoyed because of her love for babies and toddlers. She worked at the Day Care for years and even speaks about the babies and toddlers she took care of that are all grown up and have families of their own.

She also worked at the Elderly facilities doing just about everything from cooking to cleaning.
Some of the things she loved to do are playing bingo. For years she was known as the Bingo Queen. She loved to cook and fry bread. She makes the best fry bread in the world. She loved to sew quilts, clothing, and ribbon shirts.

She was committed to her family until her journey ended.

Survived by a son: William Bird of Flandreau, South Dakota; daughters: Eldean Bird of Sisseton, South Dakota, Sharon Ward of Reynoldsburg, Ohio and Catherine Bird of Wahpeton, North Dakota; thirteen grandchildren and twenty one great-children; other relatives and friends.

Preceded in death by Sandra Circlebear – Daughter, Allen Joseph Bird – Son,
Yvonne Fry – Daughter and Veronica Bird – Daughter.

Funeral services for Sarah Bird will be held on Monday, January 25th at 10:00 A.M. at The Community Center in Old Agency Village, South Dakota.

Interment Traditional Burial Ground near Long Hollow.

Drum Group The Buffalo Lake Singers.

Traditional service Joseph Circlebear and The Buffalo Lake Sundancers.

Active Pall bears will be Kendrick Mireau, Craig Elder, Elgin Blackthunder,
Elijah Blackthunder, Everett Blackthunder, Jr., Michael Sierra, Sr.,
Thomas LaBlanc, Jr., Mitchell Maskewit, LaVern Blackthunder, Jr. and
Gary Holybull, Jr.

Honorary Pall bears will be Naomi Renville, Geraldine Keeble, Pam Quinn,
Darlene King, Carol Iron Moccasin, Patricia Oceguera, Audrey German, Carol Adams, Credit Union girls & Darrell and all friends & relatives.

The Chilson Funeral Home in Winsted, Minnesota is serving the family. Online condolences may be made to

4 Guestbook Entries

  1. Francis M. Simon

    My condolences to Bill, family, and friends on the passing of Sarah. I remember her as quiet, friendly lady.

  2. roxanne and roberta cochran

    So sorry. Thinking of you. I wish I was there to give you a hug, Sheila. Our hearts go out to you and your family but she is in the big bingo palace in the sky! Love, The Cochran’s

  3. trisha crawford

    She was like my own Kunsi. Having her fried potatoes for breakfast was the best. Sheila was my best friend and so was Sarah. Sorry for your loss. She lived a good life!!!!!

  4. sharon maskewit

    My condolences to the family.


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