Louella Whiteman Runs Him – Johnson, 77, Iila’paat Itchish, Has Many Good Friends, passed on to the Other Side Camp on November 05, 2017, in her log home south of Lodge Grass on One Star Lane, surrounded by her family. A second name, June Berries, was given to her by an Aunt from North Dakota. Louella was born to John Whiteman Runs Him and Amy Yellowtail Whiteman Runs Him on August 1, 1940 in Crow Agency, Montana. She was a member of the Whistling Water Clan and a child of the Big Lodge Clan. She is a direct descendant of White Man Runs Him, Bull Chief, Yellowtail and Pierre Du Chien. Louella is the last of White Man Runs Him grandchildren.
Louella was raised in Lodge Grass by her parents and extended Yellowtail and Whiteman Runs Him families. She attended Lodge Grass Schools and graduated from Lodge Grass High School in 1959. She went to Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where she played on the women’s basketball team and sang in the Bacone Choir. Louella attended Eastern Montana College and completed a bachelor’s degree in teacher education in 1975.
As a child, she walked for the first time at the first restored Sun Dance with her parents, led by her Uncle Tom Yellowtail. During the 1950’s, along with her family, she danced with the Crazy Bunch Dancers. She participated in the Miss Indian America Pageant in 1961 at Sheridan Indian Days. Ted and Martha Bear Cloud adopted Louella and her daughter Clarene into the Tobacco Society in 1963.
As a lifetime member of the First Crow Indian Baptist Church, Louella attended Sunday School, Baptist Youth Fellowship and Church. She sang in the choir and was a soloist, singing gospel music and Crow Indian Hymns. Louella served on the Christian Church Council, and as vice moderator in the 2000’s.
Louella married Gary Johnson in 1971, in Lodge Grass and they moved to Rocky Mountain College faculty housing. In 1983 they moved to Lodge Grass and built a beautiful log home. Gary and Lou taught in summer camps as a part of the Karl May Spiele in Bad Segeberg, Germany for summers of 1976, 1977 and 1978. Louella travelled throughout the United States and had many wonderful friends, especially among children. Most recently, she went to Ireland with her nieces and son-in-law John.
In the 1960’s, Louella worked as a secretary receptionist, a police dispatcher, and a public relations specialist with the Crow Tribe. She taught at Pryor for 7 years and Lodge Grass for 28 years. She retired in 2007, after 35 years and teaching over 500 children. She authored several Crow language children’s books, recorded traditional Crow Lullabies and Crow language words and phrases for the new Crow Language App. In 1996, the Montana Indian Education Association named her the Teacher Counselor of the Year. Louella also served on the Crow Tribal Housing Board.
In the summertime, Louella’s family camped at Crow Fair, the Lodge Grass/Wyola Sundance and the Baptist Association Camp Meetings. She was renowned for traditional parading in the old time Crow saddle and horse trappings. Louella was a member of the Ree Dance Society and participated in the Lodge Grass District 4th of July Powwow, handgames and activities. For thirty years, Gary and Louella participated in Rendezvous encampments and the annual Metis celebration in Lewistown.
In the cinema Louella acted as a little dancing girl in the movie The Big Sky and as an Indian woman translator in movie Walks Far Woman. She was a soloist in the musical The Plainsong in Massachusetts. Her marksmanship won the World Champion of Cowboy Action Shooting, from the Montana Gunfighters, Inc. four times. Gary and Lou attended Military Balls at Little Big Horn Days and enjoyed Ballroom dancing with the Yellowstone Dance Club.
She was preceded in death by her husband Gary, Sr., her parents John and Amy Whiteman Runs Him, her brothers Arlis Whiteman Runs Him, Robert Bends and Joseph Medicine Crow, her sister Minnie Ellen Fritzler, her grandson Peter Doporto and great granddaughter Ayanna Amyotte.
Louella is survived by her sons Robert (Melva) Meiwald, Sr., Gary (Carlene) Johnson, Jr., Richard (Becky) Brown, and Dean (Connie) Bullshows; and daughters Clarene (Tracy) Walters, and Terri Whiteman; her grandchildren Quinley and Ike Johnson, Michael and Amy Walters, Laura Orozco, Elizabeth, Marisol, and Sara Doporto, Jessica Ruthven and Leslie Stump-Myers, Toni Bronco, Tiffany, Robert, Jr. and Aubrey Meiwald; and seventeen great-grandchildren. Louella had an adopted sister Harriet Callahan- Kills Horse. Louella’s extended families are the Yellowtails, Whiteman Runs Him, Bull Chief, Medicine Crow, Bends, Frazier, Hogan, Takes the Gun, Fritzler, Bad Bear, Beads/Don’t’ Mix, Bull Over the Hill, Flatlip, Moccasin, Old Coyote, Old Horn, Pease, Pretty On Top, Russell, Small, Spotted Horse, Stewart, and Walks Over Ice, and in Canada the Lefthand family, and the Washakie family of Wyoming. Our family is large, and we apologize if we have forgotten anyone.
Funeral services will be held 10 a.m., Thursday, in the Crow Agency Spirit of Life Foursquare Church, Interment will follow in the Lodge Grass Cemetery. Bullis Mortuary has been entrusted with the arrangements.