Heidi L. North-Fehlenberg, 55, who honored her Seneca ancestors by infusing her daily life in Montgomery County with a rich array of Native American values and customs, died Sept. 2 following a hemorrhage.
An active member of the Native American community, North-Fehlenberg walked the Red Road (followed Native American traditions) and loved to dance at powwows and gatherings.
At various times, her activities helping Native Americans and celebrating their culture took her and her husband, Jeffrey J. Fehlenberg, to upstate Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, West Virginia, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
North-Fehlenberg and her husband embraced creation and the outdoors as a source of inspiration and turned their property into a registered wildlife habitat.
Her Seneca Indian name, Aweeyayusooxweexkwe, translates into "Woman Walking With Animals" and reflects her passion for all creation, her husband said.
In 2011, she appeared at the dedication of a monument in Barren Hill to six Oneida Indians who died in the Revolutionary War, dressed in full deerskin regalia. That included a long dress with fringe extending from the hip down, a special shawl of animal skins, beaded headband, and ceremonial jewelry.
The effect was stunning, according to a reporter who was there.
The Senecas and Oneidas are both affiliated with the Iroquois Leaque, once the Iroquois Confederacy.
Daughter of the late Paul D. North, Sr. and Louise North, she was born in, and lived most of her life in the Philadelphia area.
After graduating from Wissahickon High School, North-Fehlenberg continued her education at Bowman's Technical Institute, HTBL Ferlach in Austria, University of Phoenix, Temple, DeVry, MCCC, Penn State, the Gemological Institute of America and the Academy of Competitive Intelligence.
She worked as an administrative assistant doing competitve research at various local firms, and was well-versed in many aspects of computer work, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was certified in competitive intelligence, a new field in which companies keep track of what is happening in their market.
North-Fehlenberg was a member of the Lower Gwynedd Green Committee, volunteered for the Greyhound Rescue, and Comfort Caring Canines, and contributed to Womnaye & Otuh'an, a humanitarian relief effort that benefits Native Americans in need.
In keeping with her principles, she and her husband adopted six “fur kids,” or special-needs domestic animals. The two have been married for 30 years.
Surviving, in addition to her husband, are a brother, Paul North Jr., and numerous “brothers and sisters” in Native American communities.
Services and a funeral in the Native American custom will be held at the Pleasantville United Church of Christ, 3424 Limekiln Pike, Chalfont, PA 18914, on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 10:30 a.m. on.
The church is where North-Fehlenberg and her husband were married. Her native brothers and sisters are encouraged to wear regalia. Drums, flutes, singers are welcome, her husband said.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to charities close to her heart:
1. Delaware Valley Raptor Center, Bill Streeter, RD 2, Box 9335, Milford, PA 18337 (717-296-6025)
2. Elmwood Park Zoo of the Norristown Zoological Society, 1661 Harding Blvd., P.O. Box 348, Norristown, PA 19404 (610-277-3825)