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

Francis Belgarde


August 27, 2018

Francis Belgarde

December 21, 1937 - August 23, 2018

Francis Belgarde, 80, of Bemidji, MN died on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center.

Traditional Mide Services will be held at 10:00 am, Monday, August 27, 2018 at Mission Community Center in Cass Lake, MN with Spiritual Leader Zac Earley officiating. A wake will begin at 7:00pm, Sunday, August 26, 2018 at the Mission Community Center and will continue until the time of the service. Interment will be at the Traditional Mide Burial Grounds in Naytahwaush, MN under the direction of the Cease Family Funeral Home in Bemidji.

Bagone-aanakwadoog Francis Belgarde, of Bemidji, MN, beloved father, grandfather, brother and friend, began his journey to the spirit world on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. He was 80 years old. Born on Dec. 21, 1937 in Ft. Totten, ND, to Basil and Josephine, he was a member of the Turtle clan and enrolled at Turtle Mountain.

Francis had a lifelong love of learning and was determined to pursue his education beginning at a very young age. He attended boarding school at St. Michaels Indian Catholic Mission in Devils Lake, ND and joined the seminary as his only opportunity to attend high school. When he was 17 years old he chose to enlist in the military instead of pursuing the priesthood. He was the first in his family to finish high school while there. In the Army he was a combat engineer with three tours in Vietnam and finished service as a construction foreman. Francis was decorated with several medals during his service enlistment. These included the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation medal, 5 good conduct medals, the National Defense Service medal, the Vietnam Service medal with 3 bronze

service stars, the Republic Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and the Vietnam Campaign medal. Additionally, he served in Korea, Germany and various U. S. states before retiring in 1975 as a Sergeant 1st Class after 20 1/2 years of service.

After Francis retired from the Army, he went to college in Tennessee, earning a degree in Elementary Education. He taught elementary school for several years before becoming the director of the Helena Indian Alliance in Helena, MT. He worked there for 11+ years

During his tenure, the impact of his work on urban Indian communities in Helena, Great Falls and Butte, MT was profound as he ran, re-established and advised urban Indian Health clinics there. The health and well-being of so many were improved by his efforts to provide quality health care to these communities. He was also instrumental in connecting the communities of Little Shell Anishinaabeg in Montana with relatives in northern Minnesota -bringing traditional people to Helena to build culture, tradition and connection with our ancestral home. Several trips were made, back and forth, to "build a bridge" that both established and strengthened those bonds. It was history in the making and eventually led him to move to the Bemidji area to enjoy his remaining years with his daughter Nyleta, son Buddy and especially his beloved granddaughter Waasebiik. During his retirement he also liked to travel, camp and do woodworking. Francis was preceded in death by his parents Basil and Josephine, brothers Jerry Belgarde, Tom Sharette, and Walter Sharette; sisters Vicki Skidmore and Violet Sharette. He is survived by sons Buddy Belgarde of Bemidji, MN and Carey Belgarde of California; daughter Nyleta Belgarde of Bemidji, MN; brothers Eugene Belgarde of Winston, MT, Roy Belgarde of TumTum, WA, George Belgarde of Various Places; sisters Maxine (Sharette) Karlyn of Tahlequah, OK, Janet (Geoff) Kracher of Tahlequah, OK; grandchildren Brandon Belgarde of Las Vegas, NV, and Waasebiik Belgarde of Bemidji, MN; and many, many nieces and nephews.

Francis was cherished by his family and community as a humble, honest, and generous man. His sparkling eye, his infectious laugh, his passion for life and most of all his love of family has made an indelible imprint on those whose lives he touched. He will be greatly missed. Giwenda-miigwechiwenimigoom.


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