In Memoriam – Chastity Bedonie


It is with great sadness to share that we recently lost a classmate. Chastity Bedonie passed away over the weekend. Many have already shared some wonderful memories of Chastity and our time together at Bryn Mawr over on Facebook. In addition, we received the following from one of her colleagues at the Department of the Interior who asked that her name be withheld:

“I am deeply saddened to report that Chastity Bedonie, one of our colleagues in the Office of the Secretary, passed away over the weekend at the age of 39.

A native of Farmington, New Mexico, Chastity was a proud member of the Navajo Nation. She received a law degree from UCLA and pursued a career dedicated to improving the lives of Native Americans. She served on the staffs of Rep. Brad Carson, the National Indian Gaming Commission, and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and as an attorney with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld representing tribal governments.

I came to know Chastity when, as an attorney-advisor for the Office of Congressional Legislative Affairs, she advised me on tribal affairs during my confirmation hearing and later when I testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. I saw in her a passion for ensuring the Interior Department meets its trust and treaty responsibilities to tribal nations and accomplishes our mission of helping to build stronger, more prosperous Native American communities.

She played an important role in the settlement of the historic Cobell case, resolution of water rights cases involving tribal nations, and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, in which she focused on the protection of Native American women.

Most importantly, many of you knew Chastity as a compassionate friend with an infectious smile and a passion for life. As we grieve and honor her memory, I know that she will continue to live on in our hearts and minds.

On behalf of the entire Interior Department, I extend my deepest condolences to Chastity‚Äôs family and friends.”

Chastity will certainly be missed by us all. May her memory be a blessing to her family and friends.

9 thoughts on “In Memoriam – Chastity Bedonie

  1. Anassa Kata Chastity -may your journey be peaceful. Blessings on you as you pass on to a better place <3

  2. It was Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell who circulated the above obituary about Ms. Bedonie throughout the Department via email. The Secretary clearly held Ms. Bedonie in the highest regard.

  3. I will keep you posted about a memorial and charity or memorial fund. I have an address for condolences you can e-mail me at for it.
    This is truly a sad time – Chastity will be missed.

  4. Erica and Beth, thanks so much for posting this lovely tribute and getting the sad news out to our community. I remember Chastity well and am shaken by her death. I remember being so struck by her poise and wit and calmly rational nature even as I was having a manic time my sophomore year. I’ve talked about her and how much I respected her in the years since and am sad that we lost touch as adults. Please keep the remembrances coming, I’d love to hear more about how she capably moved through the world. I wish her family the time and space to celebrate her memory as they mourn.

  5. Thank you all for your rememberance of my sister (cousin) Chastity. Her mom and my mom are sisters and trust me when I say that my sister was a remarkable Navajo woman. She comes from a lineage of determined women. My aunt, her mom, is currently in Virginia getting things situated for Chastity. We are awaiting word on when Chas will be coming homes. If you have questions for her mom please email me ( or leave a message and I will get word to her or if she has been contacted already then thank you. My little sister will truly be missed. I’m very proud of all her accomplishments and of all the wonderful friends she touched throughout the course of her life. Thank you for keeping that beautiful smile on her face..thank you thank you!

  6. There will be a memorial for Chastity on Friday, September 20th from 4-6 at the department of the interior in Washington DC.

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