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Minerva Crantz Allen

Minerva Crantz Allen, Sunk' Pa (Muskrat), 90 passed away on Friday May 24, 2024 surrounded by family. She was the daughter of a French Chippewa man Ernest Crantz Sr and an Assiniboine – Gros Ventre mother Felistis Chopwood. Born at home in a log cabin in Big Warm, a small community 3 miles south of Lodgepole with the help of midwives Lady Goes Flying and Prisoner Wing on a snowy spring day, April 24, 1934. After she was born her grandfather Henry Chopwood held her up to the sun, and asked the sun to keep her so that she could grow up, have children and live a long life. In those days it was Assiniboine tradition for the first born child to be raised by the grandparents. So she was raised by her mother's parents Henry Chopwood and Lucille Bullcap. Coming from the Cold people Clan (grandma's clan), Black Horse Clan (great grandpa's clan), and the Prairie Clan (grandpa's clan). Minerva was raised in a very traditional way with Assiniboine and Gros Ventre being her first languages. She was taught her traditional ways by her grandparents being strong Sundance people, they belonged to the hand and feather game. At a very young age her grandpa encouraged her to pursue education. She first learned to speak English from missionaries by singing songs before going off to Flandreau Indian High School in South Dakota. She continued her studies at Northern Montana College which is now MSU-Northern, also attending Central Michigan University obtaining a BS in education, Weber State University for an endorsement in early childhood, and finally back at MSU-Northern where she earned her Master's degree in counseling and administration, she worked hard to become educated. She went on to work for Hays/Lodgepole School for 20 years. She was also a long standing member of the Aaniiih Nakoda College board of directors along with Carole Falcon Chandler.

She married John "Boogie" Allen in October of 1951, in her own words, "he was the best man in the world." He helped her take care of her 3 younger siblings Loretta, Ernest Jr, and Larry Crantz after the passing of her mother Felistis. John and Minerva raised a family of 8 children, 3 boys and 5 girls, while also adopting 6 others and taking in 8 more.

As a Linguist and a poet she has written several books, now used as guides for bilingual projects elsewhere, that translates Indian history and folklore into English. She is a published author of 5 books, with her last book being Nakoda Sky People (2012). Minerva's poetry is her honest perception of Indian America. Knowing the ceremonies and ways of her Nakoda people made her strong. She was a story teller and kept our Nakoda history and culture alive by telling our legends and using her poetic power and creative insight to show readers about her native beliefs and traditions.

To many, Minerva was always known as mom, auntie, grandma, gramz or old grandma. Throughout her years she enjoyed writing poetry, reading, beading, quilting, painting, gambling at casinos, basketball games, ranch life, rodeos, animals, leatherwork and just about anything she could learn how to do she would. In her own way she was a jack of all trades. The Assiniboine people are called the generous ones and Minerva lived true to that by helping anyone that needed it in anyway that she could. After being diagnosed with terminal cancer August of 2023 where she was given 6 months to live, that didn't seem to bother her one bit, she still wanted to travel and visit everyone that she could while she was still earthside. Anywhere she wanted to go her granddaughter/side kick Brenna King would do what she could to make that happen. Brenna would say "anything grandma wants she gets, she's the boss!"

Minerva lived out her last years in the care of her granddaughter Brenna King. She is survived by her brother Lawrence Crantz, Flandreau, SD. Her children John A. (Diane) Allen, Fort Belknap, MT. Michael (Carol) Allen, Linden, VA. Donna (Douglas) Sullivan, Dickinson, ND. Wanda Allen, Lodgepole MT. Dean (Judy) Allen, Lamedeer, MT. Holly (Brent) King, Harlem, MT. Connie Allen, Lodgepole, MT. Lisa Allen, Lodgepole, MT. Tyler (Kate) Allen, Lodgepole, MT. Brittany (Marty) Allen, Lodgepole,MT; With 24 grandchildren, 52 great-grandchildren, and 8 great-great-grandchildren. Along with cousins, nieces and nephews.

Minerva adopted two sisters Dr. Elizabeth McClain and Lynn Hinch, along with her adopted children Winston Bruisehead, Ted Buckman, Bruce "Mud" Denny, Hallie Gray, Gracie Pipe, Sean Chandler, George Noriega, and Dr. Waded Cruzado.

She is preceded in death by her husband John "Boogie" Allen; her parents Ernest Crantz Sr and Felistis Chopwood; brother Ernest Crantz Jr and sister Loretta Flores; grandparents Henry Chopwood and Lucille Bullcap; grandsons, Jay T Allen and Daniel Sullivan; great-granddaughter Avery Spenser; great-grandsons, T'Jay Allen and Calvin Messerly. Along with her uncles and aunts.

Apologies if we have forgotten anyone in our time of grieving, it was not intentional.

A wake was held on Monday, May 27th at 6pm at Chief Nosey Center in Lodgepole, MT. A funeral service was held on Tuesday, May 28th at 11am at Chief Nosey Center in Lodgepole, MT.