Dancers at the Ira Waterhouse Jr. Memorial Powwow.
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — The family of the late Ira Waterhouse Jr. hosted a final powwow December 28 and 29, 2018 in his memory to remember and honor him because he was the oldest and always helped out when asked.
The family initially hosted a birthday celebration then later a powwow for him as he was born December 27, 1959 to the late Ira Waterhouse Sr. and Alfreda Punkin Waterhouse. He is the grandson of Andrew Punkin Jr. He has five sisters Bertha, Manuelita, Lynda, Iralene and Van Dalia Waterhouse. He had four children.
According to information his family provided, Ira Jr. worked as a jailer for the Fort Hall Police Department then later attended the Police Academy and worked as a police officer on the reservation. He also worked as a Sho-Ban firefighter, pre-fire suppression at BIA, a Tribal Fish and Game officer and at the Fort Hall Casino Security as a trainer.
His spirituality and tribal traditions were his life strengths. He danced throughout his life starting out as a round bustle dancer, a fancy dancer and returning to round bustle because he missed the traditional style of dancing and how headdresses were made noting a lot has gone contemporary – a long time ago straight dances were done more traditional according to his sisters.
His birthday celebration started at the age of two when a powwow was held in his honor at Putnam Lodge in Ross Fork that continued for a number of years. It was done once at Eagle Lodge in Gibson then in 2007 it started at Timbee Hall. Social and traditional dances were done at the early celebrations then later it became a contest powwow. The late Kesley Edmo Sr., a past tribal chairman, donated boxes of fruit to give away at the social dance. His family said the Edmo family always helped in one way or another.
As Ira Jr. grew older, his grandfather instilled in him the responsibilities of understanding and doing traditional dances as he learned the meaning of the Warm Dance, Chokecherry dance, shake dance and Sundance. He was told that dancing could cure people who are feeling bad or not feeling well. He danced for those who couldn’t dance. It touched his heart to see elders, adults and children continuing to dance. Individuals who inspired him throughout his life included his grandfather’s and uncles. The late Austin Gould (his uncle) pushed him to do more in return giving him strength to go on and be strong.
He enjoyed attending cultural activities, traveling to powwows, singing and drumming with other groups. He was the lead singer of the Ross Fork Creek Singers. He also enjoyed salmon fishing, hunting, visiting with family and friends, learning about his family tree and history.
In 2017, Ira Jr. was planning to have his birthday powwow but he passed away March 8, 2017 at Portnuef Medical Center.
The powwow is accomplished through fundraising and many helped through donations to help it happen. His family would like to thank everyone who helped through the years, the community for their involvement and everyone for their kind words.
A feast was hosted Saturday afternoon during break.
His family honored three individuals who influenced him including Donner Ellsworth Jr., Pam Davis and Clinton Houtz.
They sponsored a round bustle contest in his memory Saturday night where 11 dancers competed as they danced to three songs. Winners were first: Livingston Papse Jr., second Gifferd Osborne and third place James Tone.
Memorial Powwow round bustle contest winners.
Following are the powwow results:
Junior girls fancy: first Gabrielle Appenay, second Emma Lonelodge and third Raylee Shane. Junior girls jingle: first: Logan Wahtomy, second Kaylana Edmo and third Kt’illranna Doky-dah. Junior girls traditional: first Wappii Osborne, second Susan Avila Dixey and third Ceara Vera.
Junior boys fancy: first Alex Graves Jr., second Jamison Smith and third Mason Smith. Junior boys grass: first Devon Pebeahsy and second Issac Brunette. Junior boys traditional: first Gator Boyd.
Teen girls fancy: first Angela Navarez, second Rose Eldridge and third Ry’esha Runninghorse. Teen girls jingle: first: Kree Burnett, second Alysia Miller and third Thalia Brunette. Teen girls traditional: first Tay’a Osborne.
Teen boys traditional: first Tyren Dann.
Golden age women: first: Nummie Osborne and second Linda Thomas. Golden age men: first: James Tone, second Gifferd Osborne and third Virgil Trujillo.
Adult women fancy: first: Kayla Marshall, second Taylor Haskett and third SallyAnn Jack. Adult women jingle: first: Willow Abrahamson, second December Arriwite and third Kylee White. Adult women traditional: first Tetona Longhair, second Nena Lopez and third Lou Osborne.
Adult men’s fancy: first: Jr. Lonelodge and second Tyler Schrock. Adult men grass: first Joseph Baldwin, second Coleman Dann and third Tony Tone. Adult men traditional: first Leo Eaglespeaker, second Seymour Eaglespeaker and third Junior Papse.