Luwana Quitiquit was tired.
The 70-year-old Quitiquit, a respected local Pomo elder and basket weaver, artist and activist, had been the lead plaintiff in a case filed against
Robinson Rancheria, whose council was trying to evict her and several others from their homes on the reservation.
It was the latest assault on Quitiquit and her family, who in 2008 were disenrolled by the tribe. Also disenrolled at that time was her mother, who was posthumously removed from the tribe’s rolls.
Quitiquit, who had formerly served on the Robinson Rancheria tribal council, told Lake County News at the time that the move to force her family out of the tribe was purely political and retaliatory.
“I'm ready to fight,” she said in a December 2008 interview. “They're not going to make me cry. I'm going to fight all the way.”
She had continued to fight, even as the tribe attempted to push her from her home, signing up to be the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit to fight the evictions. A judge recently had granted a delay in the proceedings until March, according to her sister, Wanda Quitiquit.
But, as sister Wanda pointed out, Luwana Quitiquit was both busy and tired from the battle, and she was struggling with her health.
“You would not believe the stress she was under,” Wanda Quitiquit told Lake County News.
In order to pay for the retainer fee for the attorney representing her and others targeted for eviction, Luwana Quitiquit had just sold one of her exquisitely beaded American Indian dresses, Wanda Quitiquit said.
With money to pay the attorney, Luwana Quitiquit believed things were going to be all right, said her sister.
On Thursday, Dec. 22, she went to bed exhausted. The next morning, her son went to check on her.
“She died in her sleep and we should all be so lucky,” said Wanda Quitiquit, who called her sister her best friend.
Wanda Quitiquit said the fight to battle the evictions at Robinson Rancheria needs to continue on behalf of her sister.
“They can't touch her now,” she said of the tribal council.
Luwana Quitiquit was born in Isleton, Calif., on Nov. 13, 1941, to father Claro Quitiquit, of Filipino ancestry, and mother, Marie Boggs Quitiquit, who came from Robinson Rancheria.
She was from a big family, with a total of 15 siblings.
She grew up on Union Island in the Bay-Delta area near Stockton, where she and her family were employed as farm workers.
Read more of Elizabeth Larson’s obituary for Luwana Quitiquit