PLUMMER, Idaho -- The Coeur d'Alene Tribe mourned the recent death of Ann
Antelope Samuels, but also celebrated her life. A traditional dinner and
gift giveaway followed her funeral, and many gathered to honor "Auntie
Annie." Samuels was 104 when she died -- the tribe's oldest member. Her
Native name was En-quam-quam-tsen, which means "beautiful talker." Friends
and relatives remember her for her happiness and desire to spread joy.
Samuels' life spanned an amazing period in history, from travel by foot or
horse to the space age. It was an equally big change on the reservation,
where life changed from the more traditional life of her ancestors to
gaming casinos and golf courses. Her first marriage was arranged, as was
traditional then; she was later married to Titus Samuels, a Nez Perce and
She has long been honored both as an elder and as a person knowledgeable of
an earlier era. The tribal council had recognized her by providing free
rooms at the tribe's hotel and casino whenever she wanted. She loved
gaming, whether it was stick games -- at which she excelled -- or casino
games. A street in Plummer bears her name.
Lavinia Alexander was Samuels' niece. "She was also my godmother,"
Alexander said. "She was a great lady and was like a teacher to us. She was
known all over in the different tribes because she used to travel and play
the stick game. She will be greatly missed."