IN LOVING MEMORY OF PAULINE WHITESINGER
From the Members of SENAA International, Swaneagle Harijan,
and Pauline Whitesinger's Family

LAST UPDATED 06 AUGUST 2014

March 1929* - August 2014
  

  

The members of SENAA International were deeply saddened to learn of the loss of one of Black Mesa's beloved grandmothers, Pauline Whitesinger.

On Friday morning, 01 August 2014, Pauline Whitesinger, resident of Black Mesa and sister to Katherine Smith, passed away. She was 85.

A Message from Swaneagle

At approximately 19:47 hours (7:47 PM). Swaneagle Harijan sent out the following message:

I just received a call from Pauline Whitesinger's daughter, Ruby, letting me know that she passed on this morning after eating her breakfast.

Her lungs and heart gave out after she had a stroke about a month ago.

Pauline was my life's greatest teacher and the strongest woman i have ever known. She taught me to take photos of armed rangers and other bullies who harassed her over the years due to her refusal to leave her sacred lands so Peabody Coal company could rape and pillage it for profit causing serious global warming.

She spoke her traditional Dine' Bizaad yet we were able to communicate heart to heart. My love for her is very deep and so is my sorrow.

She lived a good life, and i am grateful i was able to spend time with her in June. She would sit in front of her cinder block house looking over the lovely high desert where she resided all her life. Her love of her family, people, land and ceremony were what kept her going strong.

She showed me what it means to be a true defender of sacred land. I will live my remaining days in her honor.

Peace, love and justice,

Swaneagle

A Statement by Swaneagle; To Be Read the Evening of 03 August 2014 at the Gathering at Pauline's Hogan


Blessings Relatives and Dear Friends of Pauline.

My heart is in deep sorrow for the loss of my life's greatest teacher. She was the strongest, most courageous woman I have ever met. I am humbled that she was willing to allow me into her life and struggle. I also appreciate being part of her family that included her children and grandchildren. I was very inspired by the many strong and courageous Dine people who put out the call for non-Indians like myself to come and work the land, as well as learn to be human rights observers. We spent many years working together keeping the way of life going on these precious sacred lands.

I first learned of Big Mountain when I was in jail for civil disobedience against a nuclear power plant. My friend noguns came to visit telling me about the struggle. Then I read the book "The Second Long Walk" by Jerry Kammer, and I knew I had to find Pauline. In 1984 I first saw her at the Big Mountain Survival Camp with my 5 year old daughter Amanda and was able to shake her hand. The following November I returned with Amanda, getting a ride to a little hogan by Roberta Blackgoat's where she was staying. Diana Nomad showed me how to get there. We spent 3 weeks with Pauline in her hogan by the cinder block house that was just a foundation back then. I carded wool, chopped wood, and lost myself and the sheep. I was never the best sheep herder, but I did everything else I possibly could to help.

For many years I returned to work with Pauline in the spring, summer, fall and winter; bringing my children with me. She would talk to me, and little by little I understood most of what she said to me. I never spoke Dine Bizaad like several young supporters have, but our hearts understood each other. I could talk to her about the Mother Earth in a way I never could to my own mother. When we finally would have someone translate, I would find that I did understand her!

I loved her uncompromising stance in protecting the sacred lands for the coming generations. Her actions inspired me so deeply in a way that has never before or since happened. She never backed down. I witnessed the constant harassment by the BIA rangers, helicopters hovering for hours over her hogan, fighter jets flying so low disrupting livestock and causing stress and fear.

Pauline could walk miles and miles, and I would do my best to keep up with her. One time she put her baby grandson on her back. We all took off to her father's stone house above the edge of the canyon. She took the pack off her back and propped it up so the baby boy could see into the canyon. Soon his mother came around the bend with the sheep. The baby squealed with joy kicking his little feet when he saw his mom, so tiny down there with herd.

She would spin wool by the light of her kerosene lamp after we ate dinner and the dishes were done. She rose before dawn and had me take to the ashes to the north before the sun came up in prayer. She never deviated from her traditions. Though I did as she asked, I knew I could never replace her children nor her Dine people. I have just been grateful to be allowed to live life with her and become such close friends in struggle for the ultimate right reasons.

I learned to work side by side with her in the cornfields, preparing the earth for planting, weeding, harvesting, as well as making fresh corn tamales baked in the earth. She taught me to shear sheep, butcher, to make frybread, to cook her foods the way she liked them. The most inspiring days in my life were living on that lovely, remote, rugged, high desert where I could feel ancient beings in a way I never had before. The beauty and power of Big Mountain is unrivaled anywhere. The precious life that thrives there still calls to my heart and soul; and I am honored to have been able to be in the presence of such strong, resilient people so committed to their ancient way of life.

I was young when I first came. Now I am getting old; but I want to say that in my remaining years, I still feel the call to stand for this sacred land in Pauline's memory, for all who remain and the coming generations. The struggle here is key to saving all life from final peril. It continues to be a vital struggle, even though so many I loved are gone now. My heart has permanently been called to stand for these precious lands, and I am looking forward to returning.

I will walk forward this day in honor of Pauline Whitesinger, with saving the Mother Earth for the coming generations always in my heart.

Blessings to all....
swaneagle
Irish Hippie Frontline
Grandmother

 

Pauline Whitesinger (R), Big Mountain, 2009
Picture courtesy of Swaneagle Harijan
2009 by Swaneagle Harijan.
All rights reserved. Used with permission.
  
Swaneagle Harijan
Picture coutesy of Swaneagle
2009 by Swaneagle Harijan.
All rights reserved. Used with
permission.
  
From Oceane Waves on Facebook

On Saturday, 02 August 2014, Oceane Waves, on Facebook, posted the following photo and notice:

Our hearts are heavy. Grandma lost her youngest sister yesterday, mid-morning. Pauline Whitesinger is now a warrior with beautiful wings.

Grandma in the green and Pauline with orange scarf. There will be a gathering Sunday evening [03 August 2014] at her Hogan.


UPDATE from Marykatherine Smith

The meeting went well. The family has decided to keep the burial private.

Click each image to enlarge. Images open in a new tab.

 
Pauline Whitesinger (R) with her older sister
Katherine Smith (L).
-Photo courtesy of Marykatherine Smith. Used
with permission. 2014 by Marykatherine Smith.
All rights reserved,
 
 
Sisters Pauline Whitesinger (L) and Katherine
Smith.
-Photo courtesy of Marykatherine Smith. Used
with permission. 2014 by Marykatherine Smith.
All rights reserved,
 
Here is one that I like.
This is how Pauline and Grandma act when
they get together....laugh tease laugh tease....
Pauline has a very recognizable laugh and so
does Grandma.
-Photo courtesy of Marykatherine Smith. Used
with permission. 2014 by Marykatherine Smith.
All rights reserved.
 
Pauline and Grandma at
Navajo National Monument
playing tourist, then Grandma
took Pauline out to dinner. I
sure enjoyed watching the two
doing things and going places
together. Grandma would
interpret and translate for
Pauline.
-Photo courtesy of
Marykatherine Smith. Used
with permission. 2014 by
Marykatherine Smith.
All rights reserved,
 
Pualine Whitesinger, Katherine Smith, Joe Benally, Ashike Betsie
Grandma's siblings in order, youngest to oldest.
-Photo courtesy of Marykatherine Smith. Used with permission.
2014 by Marykatherine Smith. All rights reserved.
  
A road to a warriors resting place
-Photo courtesy of Marykatherine Smith.
Used with permission.
2014 by Marykatherine Smith
All rights reserved.
A prayer left for Pauline with AIM colored ribbons
-Photo courtesy of Marykatherine Smith.
Used with permission.
2014 by Marykatherine Smith
All rights reserved.

 

 

UPDATE FROM MARYKATHERINE SMITH: 06 August 2014

Here at Big Mountain, we women tend to cross the gender role often; not to make a fashion statement but to stand up for our rights, the rights of Mother Earth, and the rights of the future; and Auntie Pauline Whitesinger was a true warrior.

Yesterday we honored her with a warrior send off rebal style. From here we will keep our traditional reverence for four more days as our beloved receives her wings and lays her warrior staff to rest. It will be up to us younger ones to continue to protect and love our Mother Earth.

God speed, Auntie Pauline...

 

Condolences from SENAA International

All of us at SENAA International send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Pauline's family as they mourn Pauline's passing.

We pray that the Creator will give each and every family member and loved one strength and comfort to endure this sad time.

  

*Estimated based on sister Katherine Smith's estimated date of birth.