On May 01, 2014, Sungmanitu Tanka Ska Wakan (Holy White Wolf), Thomas William Alvarez "Basoon" of Winterhaven, CA walked on to join his ancestors in the spirit world. He was born July, 09, 1967 at Fort Yuma Indian Hospital in Winterhaven, CA.
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He graduated from Yuma High School and later graduated from the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While at SIPI, he gained a respect and passion for Indian ceremonies and Indian activism. He helped lead one of the school's largest protests to help get better education and services for the students. Supporting the students at the protest was a medicine man who later became a mentor for Thomas, teaching him the ways of the Lakota. Thomas was blessed with many opportunities to help others with traditional medicine, he performed ceremonies and lead sweat lodges for Sacred Path's Men's Retreat in Malibu, CA, he poured water for the Danza Del Sol Solstice Ceremonies in Tecate, MX and helped people throughout the country as well as internationally with traditional medicine. He was always somebody that could be relied on to selflessly give of himself to treat someone, perform a ceremony for them or assist them with prayer. One of the strongest commitments a person can make is to Sundance, Thomas has sundanced for over 20 years in South Dakota to help bring healing to his family and others, his last sundance was with the Cross Family in Kyle, SD.
He was last employed with Bechtel Corporation a global construction management corporation out of Las Vegas, NV as a carpenter and had belonged to Carpenters Union 944. Previously, Thomas had worked as a Fire Fighter for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and had assisted with many big fires throughout the country. He also worked as a cook's helper at Brownies with his long-time friend Scott Brooks. Of his employment, his most favorite position was with his mom Nancy, helping her prepare for and set up Brown's Frybread Stand at the Yuma County Fair.
Thomas is survived by his fiancé, Carla Bachus; father and mother, Patrick & Nancy Brown Jr.; brother, Patrick Brown III; sister, Leah Brown; daughter, Ari-Shay (Anthony) Herrera-Sierra; grandsons, Anthony & Albert Sierra; grandmother, Andrea Corpuz; Uncles Sonny (Katie) & Tommy (Ruth) Corpuz, Woody Brown; Cousins, Dureena & Claudette White, Mary Brown, Joseph Cachora, Caine & Cecil Palone, Bosephus & April Brown, Amber Cachora-Espino, Starla Cachora, Christopher Corpuz, Tina Corpuz-Pocowatchit, Elizabeth Corpuz, Jacqueline Jordan, Michelle & Antonio Corpuz and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Thomas was preceded in death by his father, Willie Alvarez; grandfathers, Raymond Corpuz and Mariano Matus; Nana, Leatrice Matus; Aunts Delores Brown and Cecilia Corpuz, Uncle, George Apostol Sr.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, May 15, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Yuma Mortuary. Mass will be on Friday, May 16, 2014, 4pm at St. Thomas Indian Mission. Tribal rites will start Friday at 5 p.m. with cremation on Saturday, 5 a.m. at the Quechan Big House.
Pallbearers are Joseph Cachora, Caine, Cecil & Isaac Palone, Zion White, Bosephus Brown, Christopher Corpuz, Antonio Corpuz and Edwin Tovar.
Honorary Pallbearers are Patrick Brown Jr., Patrick Brown III, Sonny & Tommy Corpuz, Woody Brown, Chuck Bachus, Scott Brooks, Ricardo Lara, President Keeny Escalanti, Sr, Doug, Norman and Gordon Osborne.
Yuma Mortuary & Crematory
551 W. 16th St. Yuma, AZ 85364
Published in The Yuma Sun on May 15, 2014