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Rest in Power: Rosanne Headswift March 12, 1947 – January 8, 2021

January 17, 2021

It’s hard to sort out my grief and disbelief when I learned that such a humble and dedicated servant of the Northern Cheyenne tribe has passed away.

As a Community Health Representative, Rosanne Headswift visited our pharmacy at the IHS Clinic in Lame Deer almost every day to deliver medicine to the elders in the area of the reservation she served. She worked tirelessly and faithfully. She was serious, but cheerful and optimistic. When I remember her I see a smiling face. I thought she was excellent. In those days Lynwood Tallbull directed the CHR program. Five or six–maybe more–men and women took care of vulnerable people in various parts of the reservation. Elders, mostly.

She worked quietly, usually behind the scenes, but what she did was vital to the health of the wisest, oldest, and most loved members of the tribe: the young ones called them grandmothers and grandfathers. Many of the elders lived way out in the country and had limited transportation, so clinic outreach by CHRs like Rosanne was vital.

She is gone way too soon, way too young. A hero to me.

Often I’d see her and her husband, Wayne, at some kind of community event, perhaps a powwow or feast. Rosanne would probably be scurrying about, serving food, or perhaps cooking. Every month at diabetic clinic the tribal health people brought the elders together and the joy would show on their faces when they got to see each other.

Covid-19 is destroying the best of the Northern Cheyenne people.

I found the following obituary for Rosanne on line:

Rosanne Killsnight Headswift (Ho’neheevahtoohe’e) Wolf Howling Woman – left us on January 8th, 2021, due to complications of Covid-19, on her journey of life, back to the place where her departed relatives have gone and will prepare her a place within their heavily household.

She came into the world on March 12th, 1947, at the Holy Rosary Hospital in Miles City, Montana. A child of James Francis Killsnight and Regina Long Roach-Killsnight.

She spent her childhood years in the Killsnight Creek Valley, east of Lame Deer.

Rosanne would always reminisce about playing along the hill ridges and picking juneberries along the creek bottoms. Rest of the time, she grew up in the Lame Deer area. She attended Lame Deer Public School Elementary. One year, she attended Chilocco Indian School, one year at St. Labre Indian Mission School, and two years at the Busby High School, where she graduated in May of 1966. She then graduated from Chief Dull Knife College in May of 1998 with an Associate Degree in Applied Science.

Rosanne began working as a Community Health Worker in April 1969. As years passed, the title of the program was changed to the Community Health Representative (CHR). For some time, she also worked as an Optometry assistant. She then applied for the program director position. She was then selected as a Program Director. She held this position until she became ill with Covid-19.

Rosanne was currently serving on the Board of Trustees for Lame Deer Public Schools and also the Board of Directors for Chief Dull Knife College. She enjoyed being on both boards – she encouraged quality education.

Rosanne was always an avid sports fan, she would watch the L.A. Lakers and the K.U. Jaywalks on T.V. She was also an avid fan of her grandson, Tharyn Headswift, as he played baseball, football, and basketball. She followed him on away games, always taping him on her cellphone. The support became intense when Tharyn began playing High School sports.

One of her hallmarks was helping other people, and constantly giving advice to whomever needed additional help. We are going to miss her frybread, and oven bread. She was usually called upon to make her frybread, and she eagerly obliged.

Rosanne is survived by her husband Wayne, Lew (Carlene), Frank, Langdon, Sonja (Tyrone), and Wally (Diandra) and by Joshua, Gareth, Shanyell, Cianna, Cierra, Abigail, Chloe, Byron, T.J., Shalee, Tharyn, Hayden, Madilynn. And the great grandchildren, Lakel, Amiyah, Adree, Blake, Quintus, Rynleigh, Kaiser, Ansleigh. Survived by brothers Anthony Killsnight Sr, Marcian Killsnight, and sister, Velecia Killsnight. And she leaves numerous nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, cousins, sisters and brothers on the Killsnight and Headswift sides of the family.

She was preceded by sisters, Gertrude, Drucella, and brothers, Xavier, Ferdinand, James Jr.,Clement, and Christopher, and her parents, James Sr. and Regina Killsnight.

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