Raymond Joseph Big Day, Jr. went to Other Side Camp on January 28, 2021. He was born July 16, 1961 in Crow Agency to Raymond Big Day, Sr. and Lynette Not Afraid. His Indian name Akchiia’-binnaasken aa’kinnesh (Rides His Horse Along the River) were given to him by Henry Big Day. He was also affectionately called Jr. He was a member of the Big Lodge Clan and a child of the Piegan Clan. At the age of eight, he was adopted by Marlin and Eldah Big Day. He was raised in the St. Xavier area and was one of the St. X Boys. The “Boys” swam in the Big Ditch and Little Ditch all day long and did everything that boys would do and they were a tight groups of friends. He attended school at the Pretty Eagle Indian School in St. Xavier and the Flandreau Indian School in South, Dakota. He participated on the varsity basketball team all four years of high school and played football, baseball and was on the Rodeo Team. He continued to play in basketball tournaments in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Raymond met Julie Hoops and the couple lived in Four Belknap and were blessed with two children and remained friends. He later met Opal Mountain Sheep and they were blessed with two children Ethaline and Colton. He married Jennie Gros Ventre on July 17, 1998 in Hardin. The couple made their home in Hardin until 2004 and then relocated to Lodge Grass.
Raymond was an artist and a cowboy. He worked on ranches in the Lodge Grass, St. Xavier areas and also in Arizona as well as at the Billings Stockyard, Horse Palace and PAYS. He had a special way with horses and was always happiest when he was in the saddle. Raymond traveled the rodeo circuits throughout southwestern and western part of the US. He won many belt buckles and was proud of his rodeo accomplishments. Raymond never got mad and was a great storyteller, country western dancer and always had a smile on his face. His black cowboy hat with a feather was his signature trademark. He volunteered with Christian Youth Rodeo Program in Wyola. Several of the kids he coached and trained won saddles and buckles. He was as proud of them as if he had won the prizes himself. Raymond was a Sundancer and a member of the Native American Church. He participated in Peyote and Sweat Lodge ceremonies. He respected the Crow traditions and was a Crow Speaker. He was a devote Catholic and a member of the Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church in Lodge Grass and attended the New Hope Church in Hardin. After the death of his brothers, Collins and Garland he took the role of dad to their boys. He was a loving and devoted father, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle and friend.
He is preceded in death by his wife Jennie, his daughter Brandi Hoops Big Day, his parents Raymond Big Day, Sr. and Lenette Not Afraid, adopted parents Marlin and Eldah Big Day; grandparents Elizabeth Spotted Door, Cyril Not Afraid and Henry Big Day; his siblings Collins and Minerva Big Day, Cheryl Nedens, Garland, Mervitt and Donald Door.
Raymond is survived by his daughters Etheline Mountain Sheep, Thomasa Blaine and Mercedes Gros Ventre; his sons Josh Big Day, Colton Big Day and Colby Gros Ventre; adopted children Mari (Arthur) Plenty Hawk, Bernardine, Bernard Jr., William Paul Jefferson, Nancy (Joe) Reed, Tyson (Leah), Taten Gros Ventre and Tommy Whiteman; sisters Mary Big Day, Micheallynn (Irving) Nanto, Susette (Frank) Spang, Billie (Hubert) Two Leggins, Donna Jefferson, Garaldine Big Day, Sandi Medicine Horse, Allie and Freda Bird Hat, Marlena Sunshine, Melonie Big Day, Annie Big Day Couture, Ruby, Rachel , Roberta Stewart, Donna Mae Dreamer, Desiree (Zack) Fighter, Alisara and Stallar Bull Tail, Sara, Farrah and Nikki Door, Hattie Spotted, Carla (Gary) Real Bird and Agnes Leider, Regina Gros Ventre, Donna Gros Ventre-Jefferson, Tina, Nathania, Arbutus, Traci Covers Up, Roxanna Old Crow, Clarice (Ronny) Medicine Crow, Chloe and Fatima Bad Horse; his brothers Earl and Tim Bird Hat, John Bullinsight, Jr., Heywood (Veronica) Big Day, Jr., Clay and Kenny Jo (Jennifer) Spotted, Carl Nedens, Jace (Tammy) Big Day, William (Kay) Big Day, John Buffalo, Dennis Stewart, Rusty Bullinsight, Leland White, Ben Gros Ventre, John (Amanda) Gros Ventre, Bradford (Loretta) Crooked Arm, Terrance, Manuel and Bernard Covers Up; his aunties Linda Bulltail, Patricia Door, Harriet Little Owl, Doris Plain Feather and Jessica Yapuncich; his uncles Kenneth (Barbara) Spotted, Buster Leider, Sr., Joseph Bear Claw, Garrett Door, Heywood (Mary Lou) Big Day, Sr. and John Bullinsight, Sr.; his grandsons (His Partners as he called them) Tyon, Tavian, Colby Jr. Gros Ventre and Alvie Old Coyote; his granddaughters Samara, Amira and Celena Hoops, Tavia Torralba, Cheryl and Jaylee Gros Ventre his special friends The Real Birds, Hugs Brothers, Doug Thompson, Joe Dust, Juneau Plenty Hawk, Brian Good Luck, Preston Onion, Al Big Hair, Leider Boys and Sylvester “Cat” Hill. He had many nieces and nephews who he loved dearly. Raymond’s extended family includes the Big Day, Not Afraid, Spotted, Door, Leider, Deernose, Bullinsight, Stewart, Bear Cloud, Iron, Horse, Hugs, Bull Chief, Backbone, Little Owl, Snell, Cummins, Big Man, Flatlip, Gros Ventre and Covers Up.
Masks are required and only 10 people allowed at a time for visitation due to COVID-19 regulations.
Visitation is Sunday, January 31, 2021 from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM and Monday, February 1, 2021 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM at the Bullis Funeral Chapel in Hardin, Montana.
Funeral Mass is Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 10:00 AM at the Bullis Funeral Chapel in Hardin, Montana. Burial to follow at the Crow Agency Cemetery in Crow Agency, Montana.
Bullis Mortuary is entrusted with the arrangements.