John Leo Gros Ventre went to the Other Side Camp on July 3, 2021 in Billings, Montana. He was born November 12, 1971, in Crow Agency to Bernard Jefferson Sr. and Donna Gros Ventre. He was raised by his adopted grandparents William and Velma Gros Ventre. His Indian name Deaxkaash ihsaakuupē (The eagle who manipulates) was given to him by Paul Bad Horse, Sr. He was a member of the Piegan Clan and a child of the Big Lodge.
John attended Wyola Elementary School and graduated from Lodge Grass High School. He attended Santa Fe Indian Art Institute from 1993-94 and then resumed his studies at Little Big Horn College where he graduated with an AA in Crow Studies. John worked at various places where he shared his knowledge of Crow Culture. He was employed at the Custer Battlefield Trading Post, Crow Tribal Historic Preservation (2004-06), Shopko (2010-2012) and Supervisor at the Billings Crow Cultural SUB Office. John toured with the Black Whistle Drum Group. They sang in all the states west of the Mississippi and the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The group performed for “Our Way of Life” in Wisconsin, Denver and downtown Los Angeles. John enjoyed beading and making fans and participated in Peyote Meetings. He was currently the President of the Indian Parent Advisory Committee and served from 2016-2017 at the Native American Indigenous Resource Center. He was a traditional man who quietly lived his values and traditions.
John is preceded in death by his adoptive parents William and Velma Gros Ventre; his father Bernard Jefferson, Sr.; sisters Jennie Big Day, Alpha Birdinground, Billy Jean and Nadine Old Bull; brothers Lloyd and Paul J. Bad Horse and Edmund Old Crow.
He is survived by his wife, Amanda; children William and Vanessa Afraid of Bear; adopted son Christian Jefferson; biological mother Donna Gros Ventre Jefferson of Lodge Grass; biological sisters Mari (Arthur) Plenty Hawk, Jr, Bernadine (Daryl) Grant, Nancy (Joe) Reed; biological brothers Bernard Jr. and William Paul Jefferson; brothers Ben and Billy Max (Carmen) Gros Ventre, Bernard (Delilah) Covers Up of Nevada, Manuel (Linda) Covers Up, Terrance Covers Up, Darrin (Bobbi Jo) Old Coyote, Jay (Misty) Old Coyote, Tyson (Leah) Taten, Colby Gros Ventre, Manuel, Jr.,Matt, Paul and Buzzy Covers Up, Dean Don’t Mix, Leland Old Crow and Jordell Covers Up; sisters Regina Gros Ventre, Ida Gros Ventre of OK, Tina, Mavis, Arbutus and Traci Covers Up, Roxanne (Dexter) Falls Down, Clarise (Ronnie) Medicine Crow, Lauren (Scott) Medicine Horse, Chloe Kindness, Fatima Bad Horse, Elizabeth (Earl) Old Chief, Thomasa Blaine, Mercedes Gros Ventre; his uncles Newton Old Crow, Sr., Cyrus Gros Ventre, Woodrow Brien, Tronson Big Hair; his aunts Mary Helen Medicine Horse, Myra Jean Gros Ventre; Godchilden Kalyssa, Allison, Porscha, Joe, Jr. and Marcel; numerous nieces, nephews and extended grandchildren that he was close to and loved dearly. His extended family includes Bad Horse, Don’t Mix, Good Luck, Bright Wings, Old Bull, Real Bird, Moccasin, Red Star and Dust. If we have left anyone out, please forgive us as we are a big family.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated Thursday July 8, 2021, at 11:00 in Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church in Lodge Grass with interment to follow in the Lodge Grass Cemetery. Rosary will be recited Wednesday July 7th at 3:00 in the Bullis Funeral Chapel. Bullis Mortuary is entrusted with the arrangements.