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

Tawana Jean Fairbanks


January 31, 2023

Tawana Jean Fairbanks

July 27, 1946 ~ January 26, 2023 (age 76)

Tawana Jean Fairbanks of Bemidji, Minnesota, passed away unexpectedly on January 26, 2023 at Cass Lake Indian Health Service. She was born on July 27, 1946 to Lucille (Scherer) and Albert Fairbanks in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Tawana was the eldest daughter of eight children.

Tawana grew up with her siblings in Oklahoma City and every July her family would load up the car and travel to Ball Club, Minnesota for the Mii-Gwitch Mahnomen Days annual pow wow and again every August for ricing season. She graduated from Capitol Hill High School and went on to attend Central State University for her Bachelor's degree in education. She had decided she wanted to become a teacher at a young age. After graduating with her bachelor's degree in education, she went on to teach in Carney, Oklahoma and taught for a year before deciding to go back to college for her Master's degree in education. After completing her Master's degree, she went on to work for the Oklahoma City school district and then as the principal for the Native American School in downtown Oklahoma City. After several years in this position, she decided she wanted to move her family to Minnesota to be closer to her family and her Tribe.

Tawana found her passion working with people and started a lifelong career in counseling. She had the opportunity to work at the Chief Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School, Beltrami County Human Services, Bemidji State University, Red Lake High School and Red Lake Elementary where she retired from after more than twenty years with the school. She was probably most well known for her years as a Driver's Education teacher to hundreds of youth in the Leech Lake and Red Lake communities. She enjoyed inspiring others to pursue their education and achieve their dreams. During her retirement, she developed an interest in carpentry and welding. She had a lifelong passion for traveling and had been to almost all fifty states. She also traveled to several counties in Europe, including France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy, and many others.

Tawana's favorite people in the world were her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She took pride in attending musical concerts and other school functions with her grandchildren when they were young and most recently those of her great grandchildren. She was always the grandparent who had a row of seats "saved" for her family members and didn't care what anyone said or thought of it.

Tawana is survived by her two children, daughter, Deana (Tony) McDaniel and son, Michael (Evelyn) McDaniel, four grandchildren, Brittni (Mike) McDaniel, Sydni (Mahmod) Alramahi, McKenzie Wind and Hallie (Dakotah) McDaniel, two sisters, Kathryrn Fairbanks and Priscilla Fairbanks, two brothers, Duane Fairbanks and Johnny Mac (Tammy) Fairbanks.

Tawana is greeted in the spirit world by her parents, a sister, Denise Landrum, two brothers, Robert and Richard Fairbanks, niece, Erin Fairbanks, nephews, Duane "Sonny" Meat, Johnathan Fairbanks, John Duane Fairbanks and Robert Fairbanks II; special friend, Dan Erickson, and many other friends and family members.

An overnight wake will begin on Tuesday, January 31st at 5pm at the Veteran's Memorial Building, in Cass Lake and continue until her service on Wednesday, February 1st at 11am. Father William "Bill" Butcher will officiate the ceremony.

Those helping to lay Tawana to rest are David Fairbanks, Tyrone Fairbanks, Dion Fairbanks, Jesse Fairbanks, Michael McDaniel, Mike White, Mahmod Alramahi, Tony Wind and Dakotah Brunelle. Honorary pallbearers will be all her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Interment will be at the Mission Cemetery following the services. A dinner will be held immediately following the burial at the Veteran's memorial building.

The family would like to thank all those who have helped and guided the family through this difficult time, with food, beverages, material and most of all their time. Never take another day for granted to tell your loved ones you love them as tomorrow is not promised.

Tawana's care has been entrusted to Northern Peace Funeral Home of Walker, MN. Online condolences for the family may be left at




January 31, 2023

5:00 PM

Veterans Memorial Building, Chippewa

Funeral Service


February 1, 2023

11:00 AM

Veterans Memorial Building, Chippewa


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