Janice M. Bongo


October 28, 2022

Janice M. Bongo

August 26, 1948 ~ October 26, 2022 (age 74)

Janice Mae Bongo, Naytawash ikwe "Soaring Eagle Woman", travelled to the spirit world on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, in Grand Rapids, MN.

Janice was born on August 26, 1948, in Onigum, MN, to Charles and Nancy (Day) Bongo. She graduated from Grand Rapids High School and later went on to earn her BSW from the University of MN – Duluth. She worked as a receptionist for Anishinabe Longhouse and the Upper Midwest American Indian Center. In the early 1980's she moved with her children to Arizona and began working for Human Services for the State of Arizona. She later began working for the Pima / Maricopa Tribe on the Salt River Reservation, known today as the d O'odham People, their reservation surrounded by all major cities in Arizona. Being a single parent most of her life, Jan would supplement the family income with a second job. She spent years working as a clerk for Circle K Convenience Stores, and cleaning houses. She travelled throughout the years between her home in Minnesota and her children in Arizona. Upon her retirement, not one to be idle, she began working at the largest casino in Arizona, The Talking Stick Resort & Casino. It was a job she loved, enjoying interactions with people and was great at her job at the Players Club. She loved the energy of the casino.

When Janice wasn't working, she had many hobbies and interests. She loved travelling to pow wows, especially when her kids were little and they would camp out. Janice discovered sewing in 2010 and was instructed by her weh'eh, Dorothy Sam, to start making blankets and encouraged her to go to the Mide' Lodge. She hand sewed her first blanket and was hooked. She bought a sewing machine and also made dance regalia and ribbon skirts.

Jan took parenting her children seriously, teaching them about their culture and spirituality as well as the day to day life skills they needed to become productive adults and then set them free to travel their own path in life. Janice's life and love were her children. She expressed her gratitude in the way they cared for her during her hardest times with her health.

She will be lovingly remembered by her children: Carrie Bongo, Jesse Neadeau, and Justin Neadeau; Grandchildren: Nicole Buckanaga , Connor Hurst Neadeau and 4 great grandchildren.

She will be greeted in the spirit world by her parents: Nancy Day Bongo and Charles W Bongo; her son, Jason Bongo; grandson, Bryan Oray Frazier; great granddaughter, Cedar Miigizi Buckanaga; brother, Charles W. Bongo II aka Tony, (Doris Lepinski); three sisters: Louise Bongo Geving (Snap), Rose Bongo Smith (Abbott), and Karen Breuer Mellott (Frank).

The wake will begin at 5:00 P.M. on Friday, October 28, 2022, at the Mission Community Center and continue until the service on 10:00 A.M., Saturday, October 29, 2022. The spiritual leader will be Naabekwa Liberty. Active pallbearers will be: Justin Neadeau, Jesse Neadeau, Lucas Headbird, Dennis Smith, Ron Conoyouer, Clyde Morgan, Lenny Ruschmeier and Zach Staples. Burial will be at Morgan's Cemetery. Arrangements provided by Whispering Pines Funeral & Cremation Service of Walker & Hackensack (www.whisperingpinesnorth.com).


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