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1974 Pamela 2023

Pamela Steffy

September 30, 1974 — August 7, 2023

Pamela Antoinette Steffy, 48

“Ipelikit Weyeleh Cenmy” (She Who Takes Care of Others)

Our loving Mom and Wife left us on Monday, August 7, and is welcomed in Heaven by our Grandma. Pam had fell ill in the last several months and suffered cardiac arrest on Friday and was not able to recover.

Pam was born on September 30, 1974 in Orofino, ID to Muriel Slickpoo and Phillip Mendacino. Pam was an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe. Pam was also very proud to be half Northern Cheyenne (Tsis tsis’tas) and she visited her Red Woman extended family every summer during her childhood years in Lame Deer, MT and maintained contact with them in her adult years. Pam was also affiliated with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (Cayuse band).

Pam attended elementary schools at both Clearwater Valley in Kooskia & in Kamiah. During her childhood years, Pam had fond memories of going to the Tribal youth summer school program with her friends and cousins. She also participated in the summer youth activities, field trips, culture classes, softball, basketball, and soccer at the Wa-A’Yas Community Center in Kamiah. Pam also loved traveling to powwows, ceremonies, and memorials throughout the Northwest with her Emma and Umpa. When she was in junior high, her Mom moved the family to Ashland, MT to live with their Northern Cheyenne relatives. Pam attended St. Labre Indian Catholic school there and loved it as it was an all-Indian school. Pam met more relatives, made several friends, and proudly reported she was the first one to wear Bermuda shorts there and it started the style for all the kids. The family eventually moved back to Kamiah and Pam attended Kamiah high school. Pam participated in volleyball and basketball and belonged to the high school Indian club. Pam enjoyed traveling with the Indian club to youth conferences throughout the Northwest. Pam loved to play volleyball and was known for her deadly serves and killer spikes. Pam played volleyball at Kamiah high school & was named to the A-3 school district All-Star league team in 1991. Pam continued to play volleyball recreationally at the Waayas and played every chance she got. Pam and her (late) Uncle Harry Slickpoo, Sr “Waldo” obtained their GED’s through the Tribe’s Adult Learning Center and both were proud to participate in the graduation ceremony held at LCSC.

In the early 2000’s, Pam, her Uncle Waldo & Aunt Etta Axtell were the very first enrolled college students at the newly-established Kamiah site of the Northwest Indian College (NWIC). Pam went on to obtain an Associate of Arts, Direct Transfer degree, from NWIC in 2014. She proudly attended the graduation ceremony with her family in Bellingham, WA. Pam had plans to complete her Bachelor’s degree from NWIC and was just a year shy of credits to graduate. Pam wanted to be an advocate for families working with the social services & judicial systems, and issues affecting the Tribal community. Like her Grandpa and Mom, Pam was outspoken and was not afraid to call Tribal council, ask questions, and demand answers.

Pam worked various construction jobs and was also employed by the Nez Perce Tribe for several years as a secretary. Pam was an excellent cook and was known to feed the neighborhood children, often inviting (or making) them in to her home to eat. Pam was known for her delicious huge bowls of potato soup, fry bread, and tuna casserole. In 2012, she and her cousin Judge Slickpoo were the head cooks for the 1st Annual Rapid River Salmon camp for youth. This was the first of many contract cooking jobs for her. Pam and her husband, Dave, often put up Indian taco stands at various community events. When she didn’t have a stand up, people were looking for her asking why she wasn’t making fry bread.

On July 27, 1991, Pam met David Steffy at Kooskia Days when she asked him to buy beer for her and her friends. He agreed but he also invited himself along and hopped in the car with Pam and her friends, to their surprise. That was the beginning of their 32-year relationship and eventual marriage. She always reminded everyone of how they met and wanted to celebrate their anniversary during Kooskia Days. Pam and Dave were married on March 23, 1996 at the Second Presbyterian Church in Kamiah with the (late) Reverand Walter Moffett, Sr. Officiating. Pam was also eight months pregnant with their first child, Kaleigh. Pam and Dave always lived together in the Kamiah area and had four more children.

Pam loved being a stay-at-home Mom and often said “I don’t have to work..that’s what my husband is for!” Pam loved her children fiercely and was a strong advocate for them in everything they did. Pam was very proud of her children and often spoke of their accomplishments every chance she could. Pam liked to tell her kids “manners are for free, you just got to use them.” Pam also was the first to congratulate her nieces and nephews on their athletic or academic events and awards.

Pam liked to cook, sew, hunt, fish, swim, scroll social media, and gamble at the casino. She was part of the original “dollar crew” at Itseyeye casino. Pam was also known to welcome people in to her home with open arms, making sure they had food to eat and a place to sleep. She was a second Mom to her younger sister and brother, and later some cousins, nieces, and nephews. Pam had many nicknames growing up that she answered too. And some she didn’t care to answer. Some of her nicknames were Zaney Zig, Pamela Jane, Jane, Quick, Rah Rah, and Hurricane Jane. Pam loathed a couple of the nicknames given to her by her late Uncle Owen.

Pam was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Allen P. Slickpoo, Sr. “Umpa” & Ernestine (Hayes) Slickpoo “Emma”; paternal grandfather, “Jack Rabbit” Red Woman; her brother, Cheyenne Red Woman; niece, Simone Miller; nephew, Bryan “Lil Tom” Kenoras, and sadly, just two months ago, her Mom, Muriel Slickpoo.

Pam is survived by her husband David Sr., sons David Jr. (Daveo), Lance, daughters Emali and Cessali, all at the family home in Kamiah; oldest daughter, Kaleigh, of Lewiston; sister Lucy Medicine Elk of Coulee Dam, WA; and brother Max (Pino) Weasel Boy of Kamiah. Pam also leaves behind many Aunts, Uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, Slickpoo family, a beloved great-niece and great-nephew, and all those who knew and loved her.

Memorial services will be held on Thursday, August 10 at 7pm at the Waayas Community Center in Kamiah. Funeral services led by Volkhard Graf will be held on Friday, August 11 at 10am, also at the Waayas. Interment will occur at the Nez Perce Tribal cemetary on No Kid Lane immediately following the funeral services. A dinner will be served at the Waayas after burial. Judy Oatman is serving as head cook.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Pamela Steffy, please visit our flower store.

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