Members from the Ferris community and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians gathered in Merrill/Travis Hall for Stormy Asanpi’s celebration of life.
Asanpi, a freshman studying nursing, died on Sept. 5. On Thursday, Sept. 28, the sound of drums and loss echoed throughout the room of her memorial.
Traditional music was played in her honor by the Brave Scout drum group. Tobacco ties were set on the table for attendees to grab and pray with. According to Stormy’s mom, Dana Greensky, raising her kids with traditional values was very important.
Greensky picked up a microphone and proceeded to commemorate her daughter’s life.
“If you’d like to honor my daughter, choose love and show love,” Greensky said.
Greensky shared how when Stormy passed, the family held a sacred fire alight for four days. It was raining, thundering and windy, yet the only awning that worked was the one over Asanpi’s fire. Greensky described that moment as “comforting.”
“She was really intentional with her actions,” Greensky said. “She didn’t do anything just barely, or slowly.”
At just 16 years old, Asanpi had gotten a car and passport. She was said to manifest big goals in life which was shown through her vision board that was displayed at her memorial.
Those who spoke at the memorial focused on the passion and adventure that came from Asanpi. Her mother described how she respected people for who they were, never discriminated and was always supportive. Greensky said that Asanpi just wanted “everyone to be included and to be treated with care.”
People mingled and made friendship bracelets in honor of Asanpi after the ceremony. Years of Asanpi’s artwork were displayed next to the podium and a TV that played pictures of her throughout her life. Her vision board was laid across the bottom of the paintings. A spin on her favorite food, dessert pizza, was set out for everyone to snack on along with other refreshments.
Radiology freshman Skylar Laird had a connection with Asanpi since before college. Last year, they both dealt with the death of a friend.
“She held all of us together that night,” Laird said. “She was trying to support and make sure everyone was okay before she was okay.”
In hopes of gaining a higher education, experiencing the world and bringing that back to their community, Asanpi was granted scholarships and support systems to go to college within their tribal government.
A life long friend of the family introduced herself as Asanpi’s “honorary auntie.” She believed the next several generations would bring communities, tradition and culture back together and that Stormy had already begun to do so and encouraged her peers to as well. According to Asanpi’s aunt, Asanpi cherished living her best life and “worked smarter, not harder.”
Social work graduate student Manny Ogua is the hall director of Merrill/Travis and Brophy/Mcnerny. He introduced and led Asanpi’s memorial.
“Bringing people together from all different backgrounds, what an opportunity and blessing to come out of such a tragic situation,” Ogua said.
Ferris faculty thanked the family for sharing Asanpi with them and shared appreciation for the time she spent on campus. The opportunity for the memorial arose after Manny and the faculty asked what they could do to help support the family further. The resident assistants coordinated the memorial for Asanpi.
“The RAs put it together, the planning, the purchasing and everything,” Ogua said.
The family was grateful for getting to celebrate Asanpi’s life.
“Thank you to the college for caring for Stormy like we would,” Greensky said.
Towards the end of the memorial, Director of Housing Lisa Ortiz presented plaques in honor of Asanpi. One was given to the family, and one to hang up on a wall at Travis Hall so Asanpi’s memory lives on at Ferris, as she will “always be a Bulldog.”