The world lost a beautiful soul, Bessie Annette Blackeagle, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Kamiah. Bessie had a unique way of touching people’s heart, whether it was family, friends or even those she met only briefly.
On May 16, 1992, Bessie Annette Blackeagle was born to Frank Blackeagle and Dani Scott in Spokane. Bessie was known as Wetxuuiis Wees-Return from far away. Her Indian name was given by uncle, Norton Blackeagle. She spent her life living throughout Idaho and Montana.
During childhood, Bessie took piano lessons and became a proficient pianist. She was active in karate and earned a black belt. She graduated from Lapwai in 2010. While in high school, Bessie was active in basketball, cheerleading and the school mascot. In 2009, she placed for drama, traveling to Moscow to compete in a state competition. She was also selected to participate for Miss Idaho Teen, winning the talent show as a designer and seamstress, featured in Indian Country Today Magazine, nominated as an ambassador from the school and traveling to Australia. She held numerous school office positions throughout the years.
After high school, Bessie attended Lewis-Clark State College where she completed a minor degree in Nez Perce language. Bessie was an avid practitioner of Nimiipuutimpt. She was an actor in the LCSC production of “Tim’neepe, Heart of the Monster.” The Nez Perce National Historical Park Service offered an internship. Her teaching included Lapwai After School Program, Northwest Indian College, Lewis-Clark State College and Culture Camp. She had many jobs including Nez Perce Tribe Historical Park, Nez Perce Tribe Language Program, transcriptionist, Early Childhood Development Program and Stinker Station.
Bessie had a strong belief in her culture which included: Waala’ahsasa, Medicine dance, Root Feast and the pow wow circuit. She loved to sing, dance and hoped to save the earth. Bessie held two crowns, Looking Glass and Ee’pah’tes celebrations. She was an avid gatherer of traditional medicines, cleansing and praying in a sweat lodge. She loved to build and sweat with her aunties on the Blackeagle side. Throughout the years, Bessie participated in numerous 1877 war memorials in Idaho, Montana and Canada. She created many memories with her grandparents, learning history and sharing stories while traveling to the memorials. As a member of On Eagle Wings she traveled to various places throughout the country.
Bessie is survived by mother, Dani Scott of Lapwai; siblings, John Oatman of Lapwai, Andrew and Philip Blackeagle of Kamiah; grandparents, Wilfred and Bessie Scott of Lapwai; nieces, Robin Scott and Minoka Redstar of Nespelem, Wash., Niomi and Sienna Gomez of Pasco, Jon Wheeler of Lapwai; cat little boy and dog sunflower of Lapwai, and horse sik’em of Kamiah.
Bessie was preceded in death by father, Frank Blackeagle; grandparents, Rueben Blackeagle and Veda Jackson-Blackeagle; uncle, James Scott; aunt, Cynthia Blackeagle; cat Maurice Muppet Blackeagle.
There will be a funeral with burial to follow 10 a.m. today at Pi-Nee-Waus Community Center, 504 Main St., S., Lapwai.