FORT SMITH - Dr. Alma Stuart Hogan Snell, 85, of Fort Smith, entered camp with Pretty Shield and all of her relations who passed on before her, on May 5, 2008.
Biiaaziite' (Well Known Woman) was born on Jan. 10, 1923, to George W. (White Head) and Helen (Little Woman) Goes Ahead Hogan. She was a member of the Greasy Mouth Clan and a child of the Whistling Water Clan. Her mother died after Alma's first birthday and her maternal grandparents Pretty Shield and Goes Ahead raised her. Her grandmother Pretty Shield taught Alma the old ways of the Crow people, skills of how to harvest and prepare wild foods and medicine. Her Assiniboine mother and father, Lena Buck (One Woman) and Frank Buck (Plume) also taught her. Alma used these skills all of her life and taught these lessons to countless others, who sought her out for this knowledge. She wrote two books, "Grandmothers' Grandchild, My Crow Indian Life" and "A Taste of Heritage, Crow Indian Recipes and Herbal Remedies." For all of her knowledge and how she shared it, Montana State University-Bozeman granted Alma an honorary doctorate degree on April 28, 2008. The significance and recognition shown to her on this day eased her and pain and brought her great joy.
During her teen years, Alma attended Flandreau Indian School in Flandreau, S.D., and while there, she met the love of her life, William, F. "Bill" Snell. After World War II, they were married and last year, they celebrated 60 years together. Alma and Bill farmed on the Ft. Belknap Indian Reservation, where they raised their four children to appreciate the rewards of hard work and the love of God. Alma served her Lord and Savior throughout her life and brought many others to understand and appreciate His love and mercy.
Alma and Bill were advisors on the creation of the National Museum of the American Indian and, along with their son Bill, Jr., they formed the Pretty Shield Foundation.
Her grandparents, parents, sisters, Cerise Stewart and Mamie Knows the Gun and brothers Georgie Hogan and Adam Singer preceded Alma in death.
Survivors include her sisters, Pearl Hogan, Ferole Mae Pease, Mardell Plain Feather, Ataloa Harris, Mary Elizabeth Wallace, Nellie Petty and Lorena Walks Over Ice; her loving husband, William F. Snell, Sr.; her daughters, Faith (Jim) Chosa and Pearl (James) Buchanan; her sons, Ted (Christine) Hogan and William F. (Karen) Snell, Jr.; 14 grandchildren. A multitude of great-grandchildren and a host of others that she adopted in the Crow tradition also survive Grandma Alma.
Mom said she would go home "when the flowers begin to bloom on the mountainside." We wish to extend a special thank you to Verna First Chief, Tabitha Pearson, Lydia Hill and the staff from Big Sky Hospice for all of their care and comfort.
Visitation, prayer and fellowship sharing will be held 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8, in the Fort Smith Baptist Church. Funeral services will be held 3 p.m. Friday, May 9, in the Fort Smith School Gymnasium. Interment will follow in the Fort Smith Cemetery. Bullis Mortuary of Hardin has been entrusted with the arrangements.
Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to the Snell Memorial Fund, 3122 Brayton St., Billings, MT 59102.
A memorial service will be held at Fort Belknap at a later date. Fruit and snacks will be served after the Thursday fellowship services. A potluck dinner will follow the Friday services.