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June 11 2014

Ikagadaxee Awa Xaadish (The Shining Star)


Over 300 friends, family and co-workers at United Tribes Technical College gathered June 11 to mourn the sudden and unexpected passing of a young member of the campus community.

Kelly G. Baker, 30, a staff member in the college administration and UTTC graduate, passed into the Spirit World peacefully in his sleep June 7 at his home in Bismarck.

Kelly Baker  
Kelly Baker, 1983 - 2014  

            Kelly George Baker was born August 1, 1983 in Rolla, ND, the son of Sheri and Biron Baker. He attended grade school in Grand Forks and Bismarck, and graduated from Century High School.  He earned a degree in Office Technology in 2007at United Tribes and attended Minot State College to pursue a degree in psychology but full-time employment intervened.

            “He was the first to welcome others to United Tribes,” said UTTC Chancellor David M. Gipp in a eulogy. “He was part of the president’s office team,” assisting important visitors who came to the campus.

            He worked with a wide range of people who made contact with the college, including board members and officials representing tribal, state and federal concerns. Recently he assisted the North Dakota U.S. Attorney’s office and the U.S. Secret Service on a visit by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. He felt his job at UTTC was very important and he always strived to do his best.

            Friendly, outgoing and likable, he was known to most as Kelly, but his father used his middle name, George. His father described him as a natural communicator who could converse knowledgably with anyone. He admired Joseph Marshall’s description of the Lakota leader Tasunka Witko (Crazy Horse): “Know yourself, know your friends, know the enemy and lead the way.”

            He helped wherever help was needed. He was passionate in defense of underdogs and often helped people who could not look out for themselves.

            His hobbies included computers and other forms of technology. He ran a Facebook site for his father’s medical practice. He loved vehicles. He enjoyed all forms of music and was a closet fan of Elvis Presley.

            “He loved his Indian ways,” said Lawrence Baker, Kelly’s uncle, in a eulogy. “His experience spanned four cultures. He was part of the three tribes – Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara; part of the Lakota People; and part of the Chippewa People at Belcourt; and also he was part of non-Native society. And he loved all these different ways.”

            Kelly was a child of the Miri Pati clan; his Hidatsa name was Ikagadaxee Awa Xaadish (the shining star). He knew his mother’s relatives from Turtle Mountain and Standing Rock, and his father’s relatives from Fort Berthold. One of his grandfathers, Leonard Bear King of Standing Rock, was a noted education leader in the 1950s and 60s.

            When younger, he was a champion traditional dancer. He danced at the United Tribes International Powwow alongside his father and always appreciated a good traditional song.

            Kelly is survived by his parents Biron and Sheri Baker, his brother Nickolas Philip Baker, and his significant other Vanessa McDaniel. He was preceded in death by many relatives.

            Following the service, he was laid to rest at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Bismarck. A meal and giveaway followed at UTTC.

Kelly Baker Memorial Service
Kelly Baker Memorial Service June 11 at United Tribes



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