Joseph W. Azure was born on January 30th, 1948 in Ft. Belknap, MT to William "Billy Rose" Azure and Inez (Brisbo) Bagley. Joe was raised in Harlem, MT where he attended school. He lived all over the Ft. Belknap reservation but felt most at home with his grandmother Annie (White Cow) Brisbo. Joe attended Flandreau Indian Boarding School, where he had met many walks of life that later became his life-long friends, after high school he went on to become a mechanic and would move to Dallas, TX where he would make a life for himself and his family. Joe eventually moved back home to MT to be with his grandmother to help take care of her and became a seasonal firefighter for a source of income. He devoted 25 years of his life to fighting fires and teaching new recruits to put out the fires safely. Joe looked forward to firefighting, every season but had to stop due to health concerns. Joe decided to go back to school and major in elementary education, he felt he had learned many cultural teachings throughout his life, that he had to share with the youth. Joe had many accomplishments during his time here, he was a natural leader, and born advocator. He felt most passionate about the rights of his people, you would often hear him speak on injustices done onto Native American's. He stood alongside Russell Means, John Trudell to fight for indigenous people's rights in the American Indian Movement, back then Joe was a young AIM activist who took on the many teachings from spiritual leaders, elders and continued to learn more about his culture and the traditional ways of our people. Joe devoted his life to learning and teaching others about our traditions, so that it would not become lost throughout the generations to come. Joe was also a founder, former president of Red Thunder INC, a cultural organization that played a big role in stopping the mining companies from mining in the Little Rockies (Zortman, MT). Joe led a life of advocacy for his people, he had so much knowledge on our history and cultural teachings. For anyone that knew Joe personally, knew that he was full of incredible stories that even throughout the years he could account with great detail, he was a man full of knowledge, highly intelligent, and had tremendous wisdom. Anyone could go to him for advice, without judgment and he had nothing but kind words to say. Joe had a big heart, for he had loved and cherished mother earth, his family and loved ones. Joe was proceeded in death by his mother Inez Bagley, father William "Billy Rose" Azure, grandmother Annie "White Cow" Brisbo, grandfather William Brisbo Sr., Auntie Vernie Main, uncle Jimmy Main, brother Jeffrey "Buzzy" Lavonne Azure, his close adopted family: David W. "Snip" Healy, Dorothy Gopher, sisters: Lulu (Brisbo) Sullivan, Gaileen Dolly "Teeny" (Brisbo) No Runner, Daisy (Brisbo) Gilliam, Brenda Matte, Rose "Shuggie" Main, nephew Michael "Mike" Main. sons: Maxbiya Yat Gan, David James Azure, Derrick Azure, among other family members and loved ones who had passed on. Joe is survived by his beloved children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren among many other family members and loved ones.
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