Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

John B. Buckanaga

 


John B. Buckanaga was born February 11, 1935 in White Earth Township, rural Ponsford to John and Jane (Basswood) Buckanaga. He attended Pine Point Elemantary School and is a 1953 graduate of Park Rapids High School. He was united in marriage to Donna Rae Vizenor in 1953 at St. Theodore's Catholic Church in Pine Point. John enrolled at Bemidji State College in 1955 and was the first Native American to graduate in 1959. After graduation, John taught at Emerson-Northrup Elementary School in Naytahwaush, MN for 3 years and had an outstanding baseball team. John later became Director of the Bemidji State University Community Action Program. He also graduated from the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, VA. John served as the area Director for Indian Health Services in Bemidji, MN b and in Albuquerque, NM. He served on the Minnesota Governor's Human Rights Commission, the Commission on Criminal Justice, the Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity and the Minnesota Board of Education. He was past Secretary and past President of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and, at age 24, was their youngest member. He was the Tribal Chairman of the White Earth Reservation and also served as the District III Representative during the late 1990's. He was a member of the Beltrami County DFL Committee, White House Conference on Youth, National Committee on Indian Education and past member of the National Congress of American Indians. John had an acute interest in sports. He participated in a variety of athletic activities and was named the Park Rapids Athlete of the Year upon his graduation. Along with his four brothers, he was prominent in the Golden Gloves boxing program. He also lettered in track at Bemidji State and, in 1999, was named to the Bemidji Alumni Hall of Fame. He credits his parents, church, and sports for giving him a life foundation and for motivating him to receive a coveted college education. He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing and golf, gardening, word puzzles and Johnny Cash. John had deep ties with St. Theodore's Catholic Church in Pine Point. He was not only baptized there, but also made his First Communion, Confirmation and served as an altar boy there 1943-1953, was married there and had a sincere dedication to religion.. For many years, he also served as the Sexton of St. Theodore's Cemetery. Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Donna of Ponsford, 6 children: Juanita (Clair) Fetzer – Bemidji, MN, John D. (Lisa) Buckanaga – Bemidji, MN, Linda Jane (Timothy) St. Clair – Ogema, MN, Michael John (Amy) – Bemidji, MN, Thomas Lee (Gina) Buckanaga – Ponsford, MN, Anthony Charles Buckanaga – Bemidji, MN, special grandchildren: Bryan Johnson – Ponsford, MN, and Heather McAllan – Bemidji, MN, 16 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, a brother: Curtis Buckanaga – Minneapolis, MN. He was preceded in death by brothers: Melvin, Charles and Jerome, a sister, Melba and a grandson, Jason.

Visitation Sunday, June 03 - 4:00 PM

New Pine Point Community Center

Ponsford, MN 56575

218.847.4147

Funeral Service Monday, June 04 - 10:00 AM

New Pine Point Community Center

Ponsford, MN 56575

218.847.4147

Interment Monday, June 04 - 12:00 PM

St. Theodore's Catholic Cemetery

Ponsford, MN

 

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