Diane Marie (Howard) Polaco, 80, of Santa Fe, NM, whose Ojibwe name was Shooniyaakwe, began her journey to the spirit world on July 9, 2021. She was born in Cass Lake, MN on June 30, 1941. She was preceded in death by her parents, Simon and Dorothy Howard and siblings, Simone, Simon, Kenneth, Gary, and Michael. She is survived by her partner of 42 years Charles Martinez, daughters Danna Contreras, Carolyn Polaco James (Calvin), Suzanne Kennedy-Howard (Nellis), pets Sasha (poodle), Sheppa (border collie), Mama and Baby cats, sisters Elaine Fleming and Joanne Mulbah, lots of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Diane loved to dance, whether it was at powwows, in Zumba class or country linedancing, if she wasn't in her moccasins she was in her red cowboy boots. Considered by many to be a fashionista, she wore the title proudly. She loved to bead jingle dresses for her family, read historical fiction novels, work in her garden, and have lunch at the Pasatiempo and MEGS senior centers. She loved all animals and enjoyed donating to pet charities and political campaigns. She was an avid democrat and frequented the Santa Fe New Mexican's OpEd column. She grew up on the Leech Lake Reservation. The first 11 years of her life were spent out in the mission area until her family moved to Cass Lake, MN. She graduated from Cass Lake High School in 1959 and became a Registered Nurse with the Indian Health Service (IHS). Her career with IHS took her to many reservations across America. She not only worked for her own Ojibwe tribe in Minnesota but also for several Pueblos in the Southwest and the Navajo tribe in Arizona and New Mexico. Diane devoted her life to the field of medicine for nearly 50 years. Her words of wisdom were to "try something new every day."
In honor of her memory her family asks that you consider a donation to your local animal shelter.
The Family of Diane Marie Polaco has entrusted the care of their beloved one to Avista Cremation & Burial "where healing begins".