Roberta Rose Wesaw-Engavo, age 84, of Fort Washakie, Wyoming, passed away on August 1, 2019. The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, August 6, 2019, at Rocky Mountain Hall. Butch Devinny and James Trosper will be officiating. The wake will be held on Monday, August 5, at Roberta Engavo’s residence. Burial will follow the funeral at Sacajewa Cemetery and the feast will be at Rocky Mountain Hall. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Hudson’s Funeral Home.
Roberta Rose Wesaw-Engavo was born on April 15, 1935, in Fort Washakie, Wyoming. She was the 13th child of biological parents, Allesandro “Tom” and Helen Hill Wesaw. Roberta was later adopted and raised by Tibney and Addie Wesaw.
She married Thomas Chippewa Sr. and they had 10 children. They made their home together with their children in Fort Washakie, Wyoming and Rocky Boy, Montana. They later divorced and she moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was employed at Hillcrest Hospital as a Nurse’s Assistant.
She later met Loran Littlecrow and they were married. While in Oklahoma, she was a head lady dancer and champion at many powwows and attended many Native American Church ceremonies throughout the state. She was well known in the state of Oklahoma for her unique style of dance and made many friends and relatives. After Loran passed away, she moved back to Fort Washakie.
After moving back, she later married Antoine “Tony” Engavo. Together they built a life and home for their children. Tony and Roberta traveled many miles to run and attend several NAC ceremonies all over Indian Country. Roberta was employed with the Shoshone and Arapaho Headstart as the Shoshone Language and culture teacher for 25 years. She taught so many children from the ages of 2-5 years old. Her greatest passion was preserving the Shoshone Language through children. She always talked about how fun it was to hear their tiny voices repeat Shoshone words. While working for the Headstart, she was able to attend several Native Indian Education Association Conferences, as well as the Shoshonean Reunions.
In September 2000, she was asked to go to Washington, D.C. for the Chief Washakie Statue Dedication. Roberta stood in the Capitol Rotunda on September 7, 2000, and said the closing prayer in front of Senators, Legislators, House Representatives, and a handful of her Shoshone people. She spoke of how honored and proud she was to pray, not only for the people she stood in front of but, the Nation as well.
In May 2016, after 25 years of teaching, Roberta retired from the Shoshone and Arapaho Headstart. She enjoyed her free time with her family every day and going to gatherings that involved the preservation of the Shoshone Language.
Prior to her retirement, beginning in 2009, she also began to dedicate time to Fort Washakie Schools by developing the Shoshone Core Values and assisted in the cultural nights. In 2018 she began doing recordings for the Shoshone Language app, which was completed and launched in January 2019.
Roberta was a very talented shawl maker, skilled bead worker, and fluent in her Shoshone Language.
She enjoyed singing Peyote songs with her granddaughter Tia, singing Sundance songs with her daughter Audrey and singing Comanche Hymns with her granddaughter Jamie.
Roberta always loved attending the powwow each summer as well as our Sundance ceremony.
She always loved when her Ghoosi-Jo, Luna would come to visit her. They were best buds. Luna brought Roberta so much joy every day up to her last.
Roberta is survived by her children, Audrey, Thomas Jr., Merdella, Roxann, William, Vicent Chippewa and Raphaella Stump, Irvina Histia, Glenn Wesaw Sr., Michael Warren, Marion Warren, Amos Littlecrow, and Tomasita Littlecrow, 49 Grandchildren, 91 Great Grandchildren, and 11 Great Great Grandchildren and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, many other grandchildren and extended family.
She was proceeded in death by her parents Allesandro, Helen, Tibney, and Addie. Two sons, Ethan Shawn and Wesley Dean, two daughters, Lorena Rose and Kathleen, her 12 siblings and five grandchildren.
For more information, click here.