Jennifer J. Fyten, age 49 of Parshall, ND and formerly of Flandreau, SD, passed away December 25, 2013.
Jennifer Jane Fyten, “Duta Winyan”, was born to Betty Taylor and Larry Fyten on October 1, 1964 in Minneapolis MN. She was one of the founding students of the Heart of the Earth AIM Survival School. Jennifer was a child of the American Indian Movement and learned at a young age the importance of fighting for tribal rights and sovereignty. Jennifer attended the Flandreau Indian School and graduated from the Flandreau Public School in 1982.
She then attended the University of South Dakota. During her time at USD she was on the Dean’s List and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice in 1989. The following year Jennifer applied and was accepted into USD School of Law. During her time there, she summer interned as a law clerk with the Native American Rights Fund and Domina & Copple. She graduated with high honors and in the top 10 in her class with a Juris Doctorate in 1993.. Shortly after passing the bar exam in 1993, she began her own law practice. She practiced criminal and civil law as well as serving as special counsel to the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. In 1995 she was hired on full-time as in house counsel to the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe where she worked until 2003. Jennifer also was special counsel to the Oglala Sioux Tribe where she worked on their South Dakota Tax agreements in 2003. In 2004 she was hired by the Three Affiliated Tribes as in house counsel to their Tribal Business Council, where she worked until her passing. Jennifer had a deep passion for working for Indian Country advocating for Tribal rights and issues. She was well known for her excellent writing skills and was most proud of the work she did rewriting and developing new tribal codes, including the Flandreau Santee Sioux Child Welfare Code, criminal and civil code and the Three Affiliated Tribes Traffic Code.
Aside for her passion and love for work, she enjoyed cooking, listening to music, working out, being on her boat, watching her beloved Minnesota Vikings, and most of all, spending time with her grandchildren. In 2006, it was discovered that Jennifer had a large aneurysm. She received treatment for it but battled ongoing health issues associated with the aneurysm up until her passing. It was her strong faith and belief in the pipe and her spirituality, along with a strong will to live which pushed her to continue living life to the fullest. Her greatest joy and pride came from her 4 grandchildren and the love she had for them. Her will to live came from wanting to watch them grow up. Jennifer had a deep love for her siblings, nieces, nephews, and the many friends she made all over Indian Country. She will be remembered for her strength, pride, beauty, intelligence, and the unconditional love that she gave so many.
She is survived by her two daughters: Melissa (Forest) Mandan of New Town, ND and Taylor (Emmett) Cadotte, Flandreau; three grandsons: Quentin, Forest, and Adrian, and one granddaughter Layla; her mother: Betty Taylor, Flandreau; her father: Larry (Anni) Fyten, Minnetonka, MN; her siblings: Victoria (Joe) Anderson, Leah Fyten, Scott (Brooki) Anderson, Miles, Jean Paul, and Michael Roy, all of Flandreau and many nieces and nephews, and countless friends.
She was preceded in death by her beloved brothers Josh and Ted Roy, Aunt Patricia & Uncle Jerry Roy, grandmothers Ann Flower and Marion Kramer, grandfathers Theodore Taylor and George Fyten, stepparents R.K. Wakeman and Judy Fyten, nephew Michael Roy, as well as many other aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Funeral services will be 11:00 am Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at Wicoicaga Otipi Community Center, Flandreau with burial in First Presbyterian Cemetery. Visitation begins 4:00 pm Monday at Wicoicaga Otipi Community Center with a 7:00 pm prayer service. www.skrochfc.com