Lupe J. Samuels
Lupe J. Samuels, great-granddaughter of Chief Billy Chinook, passed away at her home in Warm Springs, Oregon, on July 22, 2020, at the age of 90 years old. She was born at her home in Wolford Canyon November 17, 1929. Due to limited availability to the outside world, her parents were not able to register her birth until November 19, 1929. Therefore (a note of humor) whenever she was asked for her date of birth (at every doctor appointment) she would go into a long explanation that she had two birthdays, where at the end of the explanation, she would always say just choose one. Lupe's parents were Manuel Garcia and Jeanette Brunoe Garcia and she was one of seven children. She was raised on the Reservation with her siblings who preceded her in death. Her father became the first sheriff of Warm Springs. During her adolescent years, her mother, other relatives, and brothers and sisters commuted to the Portland area to work in the berry fields and to Celilo Falls to help prepare fish. As a teenager she was asked to join Dan Macy's all Indian band as a singer. She had a melodic voice and everyone loved to hear her accompany the dance band. Later, the family relocated to Portland, where her father worked for the railroad.
In 1950, she married Walter Langnese Jr. and had three children; Walter Langnese III "Spud", Roxanne Langnese Chinook, and Pamela Langnese Louis. Both daughters preceded her in death. They lived in Portland where she worked for Oregon Chainsaw and then Kay Springs making mattresses. Lupe was very adventurous and a risk taker in those days. She didn't drive, so when she missed her family in Warm Springs (100 miles away), she would call a cab, use her son's french horn as collateral and take the family German Shepherd, for protection. When she arrived, the cost would be covered by family members eager to see her.
After Walter Langnese Jr.'s passing, she relocated to Kamiah, Idaho, where she met and married Robert Samuels, a Nez Perce Native. They had one son, Daniel Samuels, born September 3, 1973. Lupe longed to return to her birth place, so in 1978 they returned to Warm Springs, where Robert worked for Warm Springs Forest Products Industries and Lupe worked at the Burger Inn along Highway 26, where the Shell station is currently located. Robert also preceded her in death, where he passed away at home January 3, 2015, surrounded by family members.
Lupe was a very talented and artistic woman, which she passed on to her two daughters, both artists in their own right. She used to embroider pillow cases; you always knew what you were getting for Christmas. She drew charcoal portraits, and dabbled in painting. Where she excelled was in her beadwork. She entered many of her beaded bags in Tribal artshows at the Museum of Warm Springs and was able to sell them for hundreds of dollars. She perfected her own beading style. She beaded in the old Wasco style of contouring. Lupe became known for her style among other prominent bead workers, where people would comment, "Oh that is Lupe Samuel's bead work."
Prior to Robert's death, they traveled with the Warm Springs Citizens to the Northwest Tribal Casinos in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. They loved going to Idaho so they could visit Robert's family, and she would enjoy some gambling entertainment. She continued to travel with the seniors after Robert's death, and really got excited when they would go on bead buying trips. When Warm Springs built their casino, she became an avid gambler, donating money on a regular basis - she would want you to think she also came out ahead most of the time. In her later years, she said she just wanted to "people watch" more than gamble. Lupe met many people from around the Central Oregon area, as well as people from other parts of the country. People were drawn to her because of her quick wit, classy stylish dress and her many, many, many hats. She was also a member of the local Red Hat Society. Lupe was a beautiful woman who never looked her age. People were always amazed when she told them how old she was and then had to add her unique birth story to get a chuckle.
Lupe was a great story teller. She was very versed and proud of her family. She was always willing to share stories of her childhood, and her brothers and sisters whether good, bad, or sad, knowing from whence she came. She was also very opinionated and wasn't afraid to speak her mind, giving her opinion right, wrong, or otherwise. It was always comical when you just responded ok, whatever you say, just so you could move on to another topic.
Lupe loved her grandchildren and shopped throughout the year for birthday and Christmas gifts for them. She would stash them away to the point of misplacing them only to find them several years later, still thinking of whom they were for, but not remembering the child was three years older now and wondering why they looked at her funny when they opened them, looking at their parents responding, really. Thus there was a lot of present trading in the family.
Lupe is survived by her two sons; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. We miss you mom, grandma, great-grandma, and auntie. Rest in peace.