Farewell to Morley elder Georgina Twoyoungmen
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
I called her înânân [ee-NUN-nun], because she embraced me as a son. In fact, she was a hûgu-yabi [hoong-goo-YAH-bee], "mother to many," as well as a grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother.
She was also one of the very few remaining traditional women of the Stoney First Nation at Morley.
Georgina Twoyoungmen, granddaughter of the beloved Chief Hector Crawler, passed away last week at the age of 91.
Some say it was pneumonia that took her.
But înânân made it clear to the family, just hours before her departure, that it was a visit from loved ones beckoning her home. The time had come, she comforted the family, for her to join relatives and friends on the other side; some of them had come in a vision earlier in the week to encourage her not to linger.
Înânân was a traditional medicine woman and midwife. She leaves a family legacy of ranchers, educators, counselors, writers and film producers.
Together with her husband, the late Morley Twoyoungmen (whom I called adeden [ah-day-DAYDN]), she represented the Indian Association of Alberta in welcoming the Queen to the Bow Valley in 1973.
One of the most memorable times with înânân for me personally was the week our younger son James was born.
It was mid-autumn 1967, and I was overnighting with her family as she finished drying meat for the season. We were sipping coffee together around a crackling wood fire below their house near the corral when I gave înânân and adeden the news of the birth.
Without any hesitation, the two elders said they knew just the right Stoney name for this newcomer whom they had not yet even met. "He shall be called Îpabi Daguskan [eem-PAH-bee DAH-goo-skudn], 'Child of Stone,'" they said prophetically, "because he will engage life with resolute determination."
Now almost 34 years later, I broke the news to Îpabi Daguskan, Ph.D., of înânân Georgina's passing. Together we remembered a life that brought blessing to many. And we were thankful.
© 2001 Warren Harbeck