Obituary for Claudette White – (2021) – Yuma, AZ

Claudette Christine White

July 19, 1971 – February 6, 2021

On February 6, 2021, Claudette Christine White began her journey to meet our Heavenly Father and joined the beloved family who await her arrival. Claudette was born on July 19, 1971 in Yuma, AZ. She was raised on the Quechan Reservation by her loving mother, Delores Brown. As a proud registered member of the Quechan Indian tribe, she is also descended from the Cocopah and Kumeyaay Indian tribes in AZ & CA.

Claudette graduated from San Pasqual High School in 1989 and was the first of her family to graduate from college. The day after graduating from high school, she attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. She received her BA in Criminal Justice from the NAU in 1995.

Claudette achieved a lot in her short life. In 1994 she was one of the youngest people ever to be elected to the Quechan Tribal Council. This was a significant achievement, especially considering that she was a registered candidate. During this tenure, the Quechan Tribal Court was established and the first Law and Order Code for the Quechan Indian Tribe and the first Gaming Code for the Quechan Tribe were designed and implemented. She then worked from June 1998 to July 1999 as a compliance auditor for the Quechan Tribal Gaming Office, from June 1999 to December 2001 as deputy managing director of Paradise Casino and from December 2001 as deputy managing director of Paradise Casino – August 2002.

Claudette decided to pursue her dream of studying law and went back to school from 2002 to 2005. While attending a full-time law school, she hurried to support herself and her son Zion with a full-time job as a youth specialist for herself at home group care in a Level II behavioral and residential program. She also sold baked goods and burritos to over the To make ends meet. Her hard work has paid off, and she received her Juris Doctorate with Certificate in Indian Law from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O Connor School of Law in 2005.

Claudette lived a life of service. She was Chief Justice of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians from 2018 to 2020 and Chief Justice of the Quechan Tribal Indian Court from 2006 to 2018. Claudette’s work on transforming the judicial system was recognized in the film Tribal Justice. She was an advocate of the restorative justice movement and advocated a system that worked for rather than against indigenous people. She put these efforts into practice every day as a judge and as a leader through national, state and regional cooperation. She was recently appointed to the California Tribal Court Forum and the California Tribal Court / State Court Forum. She was also an appointed member of the California Child Welfare Council. Through Tribal Justice, Claudette became a founding member of the Sovereign Bodies Institute Board. She took every opportunity to expand her voice to advocate, serve and raise awareness of the movement that recognizes missing and murdered Indian women, girls and men.

Claudette was proud to have recently been elected and sworn in to serve again on the Quechan Indian Tribal Council. She looked forward to serving her people in that capacity. Although her service was brief, she was pleased to have the opportunity to make productive changes and create opportunities for her employees.

Claudette always focused on serving. She served not only her Quechan community, but all of the indigenous people by studying cultures and establishing and incorporating more culturally appropriate forms of justice in the communities she served. She dedicated her career and personal life to the voice of indigenous groups. She represented the Quechan Indian tribe and took part in one of the longest environmental protests of all time – the Ward Valley Encampment. She has been active on the Ward Valley cause in many media, press releases, and interviews. Claudette has lobbyed several times at both state and federal levels. The topics were diverse and included law enforcement, taxes, sovereign immunity, gambling issues, social welfare, educational and environmental issues, and Indian health issues and services. One of her proudest accomplishments was when she was removed from a Senate hearing by Senator Murkowski. She spoke at a hearing on an environmental issue involving the Quechan and four Colorado Indian tribes, where none of the tribes had been invited to speak. She spoke on behalf of the tribes and was removed. She was proud of this achievement because she had the courage to give a voice to people who had none.

While Claudette’s legacy will continue as a larger than life voice of fierce advocacy for Indian Country, she will also be fondly remembered as a devoted mother, daughter, sister, cousin, niece, and friend. She and her son Zion spent their time learning and practicing culture. On the weekends she took part in bird dance meetings, where she performed as a master dancer and often took 1st place in competitions. She looked forward to playing and winning with her team Peon to I Die Peon games. She was also known for her arsenal of beautiful bird dance couture and loved wearing traditional dresses and skirts every day. Although Claudette could be serious and strict, she was even friendlier, funnier and more silly with the greatest laugh. She was the best sister and was blurry. She was affectionately known as Mew and Mouse by her sisters and cousins. She was also affectionately known as The General. She enjoyed annoying her soldiers by giving them stars, stripes, and ranks, and then downgrading or upgrading them as needed. Claudette was a loving and loyal friend who cheered on all achievement and brought people to their full potential. She was the cool aunt of her many nieces and nephews and enjoyed pampering them to pieces or giving lectures as needed. She made time for someone. She would listen when it was what you needed, or give her wise advice, guidance, or encouragement. Claudette had a big heart and will be remembered as a valued leader, valuable mentor, sister and friend. She is irreplaceable and her warrior spirit will be treasured forever.

Claudette leaves behind her beloved son Zion (Sonny Boy), the sisters Dureena White, Mary Brown, Roxanna White, Lori White, Leah Brown, Amber (James) Espino, Starla (Martine) Cachora, the brothers Joseph (Krysta) Cachora, Caine Palone , Patrick A. Brown III, Uncle Woodrow Brown, Jerrell (Mary) Brown, Aunts Gail Johns, Armida Brown, Carol Jean Miguel, Dorinda (Alfred) Ironcloud, Deborah (Juan) Villacana, Marilyn Brown, Cousins ​​April (Jose) Zaragoza and Bosephus Brown. Claudette also leaves many nieces and nephews whom she loved and cherished, as well as numerous cousins.

Claudette was born in the death of her son Creed, loving mother Delores Brown, Father Durman White, sister Clarrissa White, brother Thomas Alvarez, Nana and Papa Leatrice & Mariano Matus, grandfather Patrick A. Brown Sr., uncles, Patrick A. Brown Jr .., Weldon (Bucky) Brown and Aunt Nancy Brown

Pallbearers: Joseph Cachora, Caine Palone, Johnny Villacana, Kieran Palone, Daylen Palone, Isaac Palone, Ernesto Moreno, Adel Goforth, Jerren Goforth, Xavier Apostal

Honorary Bearers: Zion White, Woodrow Brown, Patrick A. Brown III, Bosephus Brown, Jerrell Brown, Norman Osborne, Gordon Osborne, James Espino, Joe Quechan Montague, Larry Hammond Jr., Kevin Stevens, Jordan Joaquin, Virgil Smith & the Quechan Tribal Council, your peon team (Peon until I die), Kevin Grover, Steven Bodmer, Courtney Montiero, Chris Deschene, Alex Cardenas, Javier Apostal, George Apostal, Raymond Sonny Corpuz, Thomas Corpuz, Ernie Cosio, Jason Coyote, Mike Mirelz, Wayne Nelson, John Christman, Ral Christman Sr., CJ Martin, Keith Rice, Daniel Neria, Albert Harper, Todd Tapija, their extended bird family and the Wu Tang Clan

The funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at Yuma Mortuary, 775 S. 5th Ave., Yuma, AZ 85364. Visits from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Opening prayer at 3 p.m. The final traditional ceremonies will be held at the Quechan Big House in Winterhaven, California at 12:00 PM. The cremation follows at 5:00 a.m.

Special thanks: The family expresses our deepest appreciation for the pouring out of sympathy, support, donations and sharing stories from our precious general.

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Posted in Yuma Sun on February 11, 2021.

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