Wicahpi Owijan Win (Star Quilt Woman)
Toni Rae Lee was born on May 1, 1950 to Harold “Peaches” and Velma (Walters) Lee at Cheyenne River Agency, SD. After graduating from Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School in 1968, Toni Rae attended Clerical School in Dallas, Texas. She met her husband, Steven Peshlakai there and a son, Shannon was born to this union. Toni also attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and her second son, Nathan “Cricket” Bison was born there. She lived in Norman, Oklahoma for a short time and her youngest son, Dakota “Cody” Lee was born there. Toni loved Albuquerque, NM and lived there most of her life.
Toni was affectionately known as “Sis” by people who knew her all her life. She was named after her Uncle Raymond Walters. Toni Rae moved to Rapid City, SD then to Eagle Butte to spend more time with her Mother. She was employed as a Dialysis Aide while residing in Eagle Butte. One year there was a blizzard on May 1st, her birthday. Toni Rae couldn’t deal with the cold and snow so she returned to Albuquerque where she resided until her death.
Toni Rae was well-known for her sewing skills. She made countless star quilts, pillows, dolls, horses, wall hangings, clothes, etc. She was a member of an Indigenous Womens Artists Cooperative in Albuquerque which promoted and showcased their crafts and artistry in the area.
On March 16, 2020 our dear Sister, Mother, Grandmother, Friend and Relative suffered a medical emergency and remained unresponsive until her death on June 4, 2020.
Grateful for sharing her life are her sons, Shannon Peshlakai, Albuquerque, NM, and Nathan “Cricket” Bison, Las Vegas, NV. Grandchildren: Sylvia High Bear-Lee and Vita High Bear-Lee-Osorio, Albuquerque, NM whom Toni raised since infancy. Dionycya Peshlakai, Albuquerque, NM, Cheyenne Peshlakai, Tucson, AZ and Alec Peshlakai, Albuquerque, NM. Also, Bryanna Kanai, Wicahpi Bison, Mahpiya Bison, Logan Bison, Alexis Kanai and Chante’ Bison all of Las Vegas, NV. Also surviving are three brothers: Ronald Lee, Eagle Butte, SD, Donald (Priscilla) Lee, Sioux Falls, SD and Tracy “Buster” Lee, Eagle Butte, SD. Surviving are five sisters: Lou Ann Lee, Eagle Butte, SD, Pam Afraid of Hawk, rural Cherry Creek, SD, Candace Lee, Dupree, SD, Sharon Lee and Stacie Lee, Eagle Butte, SD.
Preceding her in death are her parents, Harold & Velma Lee, two brothers, Robert Lee and Bryan “Tuffy” Lee and one sister, Terri Jo Lee. Also preceding her in death is her son Dakota “Cody” Lee and a brother-in-law, Rocke Afraid of Hawk.
Toni Rae was proud to be a Cheyenne River Lakota and from the Mnicoujou (Plants By The Water) and Itazipco (Without Bows) Bands. A Memorial/Comfort Service was held at the Powwow Grounds in Eagle Butte on June 18, 2020. A Memorial Service will be held in Albuquerque and a second Memorial Service will be held in Eagle Butte in June, 2021.