Yvonne Agnes Leith-Maza Okiye Win, “Woman Who Speaks to Iron”, journeyed into the spirit world February 25, 2013. Funeral services were held Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Upper Sioux Multi Purpose Building in Granite Falls. Burial was in Doncaster Cemetery, Granite Falls.
Yvonne was born August 19, 1939 in Granite Falls and lived most of her young childhood in the Upper Sioux Community. Some of her fondest memories were of those times.
She moved to Sisseton, S.D., graduating from Sisseton High School in 1958. She went on to attend Haskell Indian University, earning a two year degree before moving to Washington, D.C. to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Yvonne lived and worked on the east coast for many years. She worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, for several major companies and for the American Indian Community House in New York.
She moved to Morris in 1974 to continue her education at the University of Minnesota. Yvonne was active in many student organizations and Native causes.
She moved to St. Paul in 1988 and worked for or was active in many Indian organizations including the Red School House, Nawayee Center School and Women of Nations.
She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Augsburg College in 2001. Yvonne also worked for the Sissteton Wahpeton Oyate, as well as the Women’s Circle in Sisseton. She returned to Granite Falls in 2001. She worked with Okiciyapi and also helped form Dakota Wicohan in 2002.
Over her lifetime, Yvonne worked tirelessly on many Native issues, including treaty rights, domestic violence, Indian education and language renewal efforts. Yvonne was passionate about these issues and worked in a compassionate way. Most of all, Yvonne loved her family including her four surviving children, Gaby, Nicole, Eli and Travis; as well as her nine grandchildren, Isaiah, Moses, Gianna, Antonia, Olivia, Hunter, Skye, Bianca and Tashina and her two great-grandchildren, Isaiah, Jr. and (Little) Gianna. Yvonne enjoyed visiting over a meal, having coffee, traveling, going to pow-wows and ceremonies, attending Dakota commemorative events, shopping (especially at Goodwill), bingo and sewing. She enjoyed teaching most of all.
In addition to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Yvonne leaves behind her sister Diane Flute, many nieces and nephews, friends and relatives, near and far.
She is preceded in death by her grandparents Henry Flute and Agnes (Borpa) Flute; James Leith and Annie Roberts; parents Harry Leith and Lucinda Flute, her sisters Germaine Leith, Nadine Leith, Betty Ann Leith, Linda Leith and her brother John Leith.