Richard Walker Cummins IV, 66, of Sheridan, Wyoming, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on August 10, 2020. “Dickie” as he was affectionately known, was born on May 20, 1954 in Crow Agency to Richard W. Cummins III and Nellie Bird. His Crow name “Buffalo Tooth Necklace” was given to him by William “Billy” Backbone. His Cheyenne name was “Yellow Hair” . He was a member of the Lady of Loretto Catholic Church, a member of the Piegan Clan and a child of Whistling Water. He was a member of the Native American church and participated in the sweat lodge ceremony. Dickie grew up and attended schools in White River, Lame Deer, Wyola and Lodge Grass. He received his GED from Eastern Montana College in 1972. Dickie attended Chief Cull Knife and Little Big Horn College.
Dickie spent his summer in Wyola with his dad and paternal grandparents. He enjoyed traveling with his maternal grandmother, Gladys and aunt Betty Jo Bird to South Dakota to visit family. After the passing of his mother, Dickie was raised by Bill and Alvina (Cummins) Backbone at Grey Blanket. Dickie was later adopted by Wayne and Genevieve (Old Bull) Smells. Dickie loved his country boy life with his brothers Billy Backbone, Raymond Stewart, Walter Stewart, Jr. Tommy Carpenter and Bucky Aragon. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, trowing horseshoes, playing cards, singing, going to casino, beading, telling stories, attending pow wow, rodeos and helping with the Cummins-Hill Family Sundance. Dickie enjoyed playing handgame. He was a member of the Warriors, Black Kettle and Little Head Handgame Teams, who travelled and won many tournaments throughout Montana. Dickie was a champion guesser for the Mighty Few and Lodge Grass Districts as well as the Northern Cheyenne Handgame Team. Dickie won high point man honors in both the Jr. and Sr. Handgame Tournaments. He worked for the Crow Tribe AML Program, Indian Health Service, Little Big Horn Casino, Black Canyon Youth Camp and was a Montana Indian Fire Fighter (MIFF). Dickie enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1978 and was later honorably discharged. Dickie was an active member of the American Indian Movement. One of his greatest memories was the Trail of Broken Treaties March on Washington, D.C. During the take over of the B.I.A. in Washington, D.C. , he met Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party. Dickie was a proponent of Native American Issues, especially concerning freedom of religion. Dickie took a special interest in the Herrera vs. Wyoming Supreme Court Case, as he was an avid hunter who valued his right to hunt.
Dickie married the love of his life, Mary Solis in 1980 in Sheridan. The couple made their home in Lodge Grass. Dickie travelled throughout Indian Country with his dad Wayne and Leroy White, attending many Native American Church Ceremonies. Dickie was called upon to offer prayers for many family and friends. He was a fluent Northern Cheyenne and Crow speaker. His God give gift enabled him to compose many songs throughout his lifetime, many which are sent to this day. Dickie was humble, kind and compassionate. He made friends everywhere he went, many who became family. Dickie lived a life of humility and prayer. He went home to be with God with his unfailing faith.
He is preceded in death by his parents; his adopted parents Bill and Alvina Backbone, Wayne and Genevieve Smells, Leroy White and Violet One Goose; his aunts Betty Jo Bird, Mary E. Tobacco, Frances Cummins, Lucy Eastman-Brien and Agnes McComas; uncles Fletcher Bird, Frederick and John B. Cummins, Bernard Little Head; brothers Billy Alvin, John Jr., Bernard and Rocky Cummins, Henry Wilson, Sr., James LaRance, Fred Stops, Mervin Eastman and Harold “Buster” Brien; sisters Maxine Crazy Bull, Dara Lovato, Mary Hill-Bear Cloud, Dorothy Aragon-Huff, Frances LaRance, Mary Beth Castro and Magdalene Moccasin; daughters Louise Savior and Alberta Rides Horse; granddaughters Echo LaForge, Taniesha Watson and Arlene Rock; grandson Ky-Mani Little Bird.
He is survived by the mother of his children, Mary Solis Cummins; sons Martin, Richard, Jr. (Raquel) Chance (Sally), William Pete, Benjamin, Billy Alvin, Joey and Caleb Cummins, Henry “Parrot” Wilson, Jr.; daughters Rhiannon Cummins, Sylvanna Cummins-Covers Up, Kanean Windy Boy and LaVanna (Cameron) Black Crow; grandchildren N’zshonico, Joleena, Riley Walker, Rhiannon Rae, Richlynne, Cheyenne, Tazra, Richard VI, Silas, Sariah, Elias, Nelly Jo, Manny, Travis, LaRaya, Jay Allen, Liah, Marquel, CJ, Whitney, Shylee, Kayden Jo, Dion, Sierra, Sativa, Rose and Ronnie, Jr.; great-grand children Sierra, Stephanie and Amar’e; brothers Anson (Gloria), William Paul and Jay Cummins, William (Pamela) Backbone, John (Sherrie) Smells, Sr., Maurice (Mavis) Mountain Sheep, Tilton (Sarah) Old Bull, Richard Bird, Edward (Dorci) Eastman, Adrian Medicine Horse, Geofredo (Jacklyn) Little Bird, McKinley (Morena) Backbone, Sr., Tommy (Mildred) Carpenter, Bucky Aragon, Russell (Sheila) Wallace, Myron Stewart and Chad Bad Bear; sisters Anissa Kellum, Tiffany Hunts Along, Roselea (Ty) Longie, Roselyn Hunts Along, Markita (Otis) Yellow Mule, Arleta Young, Beverly Jean (Paul) St. Germaine, Dorothy Mandan, Kathy (Gilbert) and Twyla Birdinground and Ida Backbone; aunt Georgianne Kellum; uncle Robert Flat Lip; adopted children Jennifer (Ken) Spotted, Kassie Birdinground, Tommy Lion Shows, Tray “Sonny” Laforge, Wendell James Wolf Black, Thomas Russell and Ernest (Nancy) Little Bird; adopted family Allen (Ancita) Begaye, Jeremiah (Theresa) Scott, Mike Kewenvoyouma, Jonathan Cody, Nathan Tapaha, Laura Joe, Ordell Joe and Shane Schartzer and many nieces and nephews. Please accept our apologies if we have forgotten you, in our time of grief. Extended family include Cummins, Bird, Little Head, Houle, Backbone, Old Bull, Smells, Little Mouth, Limberhand, White Bird-Limpy, Eastman, Brien, Hill, Takes Horse, Walker, Standing Bear and Horn Cloud.