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Darriel F. Bender

Darriel F. Bender
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Darriel F. Bender June 8, 1939 – October 4, 2020

Darriel F. Bender, 81, Washoe Tribal Elder, passed peacefully on Oct 4, 2020 with his family by his side.

Darriel was born at home on June 8, 1939 to Manuel Bender, Sr. and Alvira (Silas) Bender on the Carson Indian Colony in Carson City, NV. He was the seventh of nine children. Darriel attended school in Carson City and began working at an early age as a young ranch hand. He really enjoyed being outdoors and he loved to travel. Consequently, he found work all over Nevada and California in construction, working on roads, and firefighting. In the off season, Darriel liked to fish, hunt, and even pan for gold. Sometimes he would stay in the mountains for weeks, then return home to share his catch with his family and the elders.

Darriel was highly creative, he made beautiful, beaded medallion necklaces, bone chokers, back bustles, and more. As an artist, he drew portraits and silk-screened his designs. He also taught himself how to play the guitar and became good enough to stand in with famous bands during the 60’s.

During the tumultuous 60’s Darriel wound up being incarcerated for a time. While in prison he became active in American Indian rights and served as spiritual leader and mentor to a group of inmates from various Nations throughout the west known as the ‘Tribe.’ Being well versed in American Indian Religious Freedoms, he was highly instrumental in establishing the Sweat Lodge with the AZ prison system.

As Chairman of the Carson Indian Colony and Council Member for the Washoe Tribe, he was really proactive in bringing commodities, goods, and benefits to the Colony. He helped organize and facilitate the Carson City Toy Run for 15 years, helping long after he was retired. Darriel held a wealth of knowledge about Washoe lore, history and customs. While in office, he consulted the State Historic Preservation Office on the significance of Spooner to the Washoe people, for their dedication of historical marker 261 to honor the Washoe.

Darriel is known by family and friends close to him as one who is generous, caring, and loyal. For many years he would take care of his nieces and nephews quite often when they were young and needed looking after. He stayed in the old house where he was raised, and they could depend on him to be there, that they always had a home to go to. Darriel had a big heart, he would give the shirt off his back if someone needed it. Yet he was tough too, he called it like he saw it, he would not hold back if something needed to be said. You always knew where you stood with him. He had a strong presence wherever he went. He is well loved and respected by his family and his tribe and he will be greatly missed!!

Darriel was preceded in death by grandparents Amelia Metoxen Silas and James W. Silas, Lizzie and Dick Bender; mother Alvira Silas Bender and father Manuel Bender, Sr; brothers James Bender, Manuel Bender, Alfred Bender; and sisters Valas Bender, Rosella Bender, Delphine Painter and Arline Wells.

He is survived by his sister Lavina Roach, daughters Fawn (Roger) Cunha and Freedom Bender, son Colt (Shelly) Bender Duke, granddaughter Lady Journeyhawk (Rob) Wukmir and great-grandson Dasan River Wukmir, great niece Majesta Roach, and many more grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Private services for immediate family members will be determined later.