Naanogaabawiikwe, Marie “Sam” Gudim, 84-year-old resident of Isle, Minn. passed away on June 9, 2021. Visitation will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at the District 1 Community Center on the Mille Lacs Reservation. A Funeral Ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 13, 2021, at the District 1 Community Center on the Mille Lacs Reservation. Interment will be in the Sunset Cemetery in Isle, Minn. Arrangements are with the Shelley Funeral Chapel of Onamia.
Naanogaabawiikwe (Marie “Sam” Gudim) passed on into the spirit world on June 9th, 2021. She lived a vibrant life that began with her birth in Cloquet, Minnesota on March 25, 1937 to John Sam and Maggie Armstrong. Marie grew up and attended school in Isle, Minnesota until the 11th grade and then obtained her GED. After which she then decided to help out her family with the sale of their cultural art and yearly manoomin harvesting. This is where Marie found her groove as a pro rice knocker. When she met Oliver Benjamin during her teenage years, they married and they became known all over Anishinaabe akiing as two of the best ricers around. They had six children together James, Jacqueline (Moltaji), Julie, Jeffrey, Johnathan, and Jennifer. Two of whom; Jeffrey and Jennifer, precede Marie in the spirit world. She was also blessed in her long life with six grandchildren; Adrienne, Matthew, Dakota, Christina, Amelia, and Rebecca, and four great-grandchildren; Isabella, Taliya, DeLilah, and Lucas.
Later in life, an old high school love came back around and she married Jack Gudim. They happily explored the world together. There wasn’t a stone they left unturned. From the dance floors of Isle, to the mountains of Hawaii, and even living their later years in the slow-paced snowbird life in Arizona during freezing Minnesota winters, they were absolutely inseparable.
Marie accomplished much in her life. She served as the Honorable District 2 Representative of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe for a number of crucial years while the path for economic prosperity that is seen on the reservation today was being built and bargained for in small meetings with the State and Federal government. As a woman in her time, it was trailblazing to be a woman leading among men.
Marie will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her. She always had a warm hug, a sweet compliment, and an inspiring word of advice for her friends and family. One of her most memorable attributes was the way that she lit up a room with her fashionista flair; gold glittery hair, red nails, red lipstick, and a killer pair of heels. She will always be remembered as a Mille Lacs Lake fashion goddess.