Kenneth Louis Mitchell, age 77, “Waabigoniigabo” which means “Standing Flower” of Cass Lake, Minnesota, journeyed to the spiritual world on December 28, 2020 from the Sanford Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota. He was born to Mary and Bert Mitchell on May 5, 1944 on the Leech Lake Reservation.
Ken, who is affectionately known by many and sometimes only as Grampa Crabby, lived a life of giving and sharing. He spent his life always working to provide for his family and the many others that he cared for. After living in Minneapolis, he moved back home to the Leech Lake Reservation, accquired his degree through the Leech Lake Tribal College while single-handedly raising his children Jesse and Joni. After he married his wife Sharon Enjady-Mitchell, they made their home on East End Cass Lake. Together they raised their children and numerous others through foster care and sometimes “just because they had nowhere to go.” The house was always full! Mitchell worked hard right up to his retirement at Bemidji State University, Leech Lake Housing, and his favorite was working as a driver transporting the Elders and community members to their appointments around the state. He did this until his retirement and freed up time for him to do his true passion!
In his rare and limited spare time, Grampa Crabby really enjoyed taking his daughter Joni around to any powwow that she wanted to attend, and his favorite story was when she won first place at Ponema Powwow. He is well know for his candid ways of dancing and his umbrella hat, crow hat, socks hanging hat and of course stopping to do the Macarena dance “for the ladies.” When not at powwows, he truly enjoyed traveling to various ceremonies and just plain visiting anybody and everybody. He always had a stash of medicines and other objects for anyone who may need them at any given time. Many will also remember when he founded the annual Mother’s Day Feast at the powwow grounds, founded the Gift of Love Christmas Toy Project, The Red Lake School Healing Run, the Denise “Grama Duck” Memorial Run and many many other random acts of kindness to just spread joy, love and healing.
Grampa’s greatest drive to live a long life was to greet his son Jesse as he made his way back home.
Family that welcomes Kenneth to the spirit world are his wife, Sharon Enjady-Mitchell; son, Trevor Bernard; parents, Mary and Bert Mitchell; granddaughter, Tanya Skinaway, all his siblings, all his aunties and uncles and numerous other relatives.
Those left behind to cherish his memory are his children, Jesse Tapio of Fairbault, Dana (Dave) Skinaway-Sam and Dalene Skinaway both of Mille Lacs, Joni (Ivan) Tapio of Minneapolis, Susan Moffett of Shakopee, Marilyn Westbrook and Gail Boswell both of Red Lake; special sisters, Bernice Mitchell-Diver and Bev Lee; special brothers, Ron Lee and Willis Burnette, 17 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, many more family members and friends.
An overnight wake for Kenneth was. on Friday, January 1, 2021, and continued until his traditional service on Saturday, January 2, 2021, all to be held at Kenneth’s home, 012 Oak Avenue, Cass Lake, Minn. Waa-maajaa’iwed is Steve Jackson. Pallbearers for Kenneth are Charles Stone, Jr., Jeffrey Mitchell, Daniel Isham, Tim Whitefeather, George Boswell and Ivan Guernsey. Alternate pallbearers are Steve Stone, David Sam and Trent Barthorpe. His honorary pallbearers are Bev and Ron Lee, Bernice Mitchell-Diver, Susie Ballott, Ellen Adams, Willis Burnette, Charles Stone, Sr. and Jesse Tapio. Interment will be in the Boy River Cemetery at Boy Lake, Minn.
Kenneth’s care has been entrusted to Northern Peace Funeral Home of Walker, Minn. Online condolences for the family may be left at www.northernpeace.com.f