Leilani Noelle Jones Pole was born in Eureka at St. Joseph’s Hospital on September 13, 1975, to Edith Norton and Arthur Jones. She was a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and lived most of her life in Hoopa. Leilani graduated from Hoopa High as Senior Class President in 1993. In high school she participated in softball, cheerleading and basketball, and during her youth she was active in participating in her traditional dances. She was an avid sports fan of her home team, the Hoopa Warriors, and she would be the driver to the games on the road for her nephew.

Leilani believed in the healing power of herbs and holistic medicine; she was always prepared with the perfect cure for whatever ailment a person had. Leilani loved gathering roots and sticks for baskets and preparing the materials for making regalia and working on her Indian dress, and she loved gardening, reading and music. She attended many concerts over the years and has mourned passed singers as if they were members of the family. She was absolutely psyched to have the chance to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform in the Hoopa High gymnasium and meeting Kid Rock backstage and having her photo taken with him.

Leilani was a worker-bee and enjoyed many jobs within the community. After high school she would start working as a tree counter for Ron Lawton in the Forks of the Salmon area after which she became employed with Hoopa Tribal Forestry’s Wildlife Division on their Spotted Owl/Marbled Murrelet Crew. During these years she would start a family giving birth to Sloan, Minnie, Isabelle and later Cleora. While raising a family, she would go on to graduate from the CR Police Academy and worked at Hoopa Tribal Police, transferring later to the Hoopa Tribal Court where she worked as a Truancy Juvenile Officer. She would then run for Tribal Council and serve as a councilmember for three terms (six years). She had decided to run again and is on the ballot for the General Election to be held this June 2023. This summer she also worked for Hoopa Tribal Fire at base camp for the fires in Willow Creek. She was presently employed and working at the Office of Emergency Services for the Hoopa Tribe.

When Leilani was told she’d be a grandmother she cried with joy and was excited for this new role in life as she herself was very close to her grandparents. For her, family was life and she always included them in her dreams and plans whether it was wanting to start a family business or a commune, she was always full of ideas. Besides being the best mother to her four beautiful girls, she was also a maternal figure to many, and loved hosting large family gatherings. Her passing comes as an unexpected, heartbreaking shock for her family and friends, as we all know she wasn’t finished with everything she wanted to do or accomplish, she had so much more to offer. That unique spark and personality that Leilani possessed will forever be remembered. She blessed us with many happy memories that are all we have now. Therefore, they are more precious as we start to realize she is no longer with us, but we know that if she was busy here, then she is already taking notes on what needs to be done to improve what she can with that unique spark and personality that she takes with her on the journey, that she is now on. We love you, our family.

Leilani was predeceased by her grandparents; Minnie McWilliams and Sam Jones, Byron “Bones” Grant, Sr. and Eileen “Boo Boo” Grant; her great-grandparents Sam and Julia Jones, Ned and Louisa Jackson and Albert “AT” Gray and Edith Gray, Frank and Maggie Grant; her aunts Denise Nix Holt, Julia Jones, Darlene Gray; her uncles Byron “Newt” Grant, Jr., Ted Cole, Donald “Dunks” Jones, Eddie Oliver; and her brother-in-law Joseph McGinnis, Sr.

Leilani is survived by her daughters Sloan McKelvy (Grant), Minnie McKelvy, Isabelle Jones (Ryan) and Cleora Pole and her father Nathan Pole; her parents Arthur Jones and Edith & Kenny Norton; her brothers Sam Jones IV, Cheyenne Norton, Jr. (Kinsa), Pliny Jones (Jaime), Arthur Jones, RT Jones, Jesus Jones, Tyson Dempewolf (Cammie), Dana Norton (Adrienne) and Damien Norton; her sisters Louisa “Weezie” Jones (Bud) and Nicole McGinnis; her grandchildren Aizen and Aurora Hamilton; her nephews Sammy Jones, Jake Jones, Jed Jones, Cheyenne Norton, Jr., Joe Joe, Dakota and Nixon McGinnis, Hunter and Parker Jones, Brandon Henry, Sam and Bitty Jones; her nieces Julia Jones, Louisa Henry, Tea and Nimbue McGinnis, Addie Jones, Sequoia Jones; her uncles Loren Norton (Patti), and Jack Norton (Kim); her aunts Vicki Cole, Maggie Pearson (Ted), Leslie McCovey and Lisa Grant; her grandmother Marcellene Norton; her great-uncles Albert “Junky” Gray (Paula), Walter “Bud” Gray, Jr. (Mardelle), Uncle Wall Gray, Wayne Grant (Reva); her great-aunts Vivienna Masten, Melissa Morton, Millie Grant, and Janet Jackson (Loggie); and her many cousins too many to mention.

Pallbearers: Pliny Jones, RT Jones, Sam Jones, Jesus Jones, Cheyenne Norton, Sammy Jones, Jake Jones, Marion “Buckmeat” McCovey, Romeo McCovey, Ranold “Sonnies” Pearson, Tekwes McCovey, Jed Morris and Quincy Masten.

Honorary Pallbearers: Dana Norton, Damien Norton, Lucas Garcia, Boyd Ferris, Inker McCovey, Ted Pearson, Walter Gray III, Uncle Hank Masten, Bud Gray, Thomas Masten II, Grant Hamilton, Ryan Moon, Mitch , Shannon Jones, Boogs, Johnny Jones, Marvin Jones, Harold Jones, Jalen Jones, Christopher “Taz” Jones, Cliff Marshall, Nantsvn Jones-Scott, Ryan Jackson, Ryan Jones, Harold Myers, Ralphy Peters, Derek Hyman, Harry “O”, O’s, Brandon Henry, Sherman Norton, Hence Holt, Jason Pacheco, Tyler Mitchell, Steve Gray, Bobby Campbell Sr., Bobby Campbell Jr., Lane Campbell, Tristan Campbell, Jake Blake, Shawn Turner, Richard Jackson, Abraham Camez, Elisha Pratt, Bud Henry, Jake Mckelvy, Luke Mckelvy, Amos Pole, and apologies if we forgot to mention more but we know she was loved by many.

On Friday, March 17, 2023, there will be a wake and viewing at the Neighborhood Facilities, there will be a procession by the Hoopa Fire Department by the time she arrives at Tish Tang to the N.F. She will lay at rest for the wake with services on Saturday, March 18, 2023, at 11 a.m. with the honorable judge Richard Blake officiating the services. The family will honor her wishes to be cremated and her ashes to be made into a jewel, so there will be no graveside at this time. Reception at the firehall immediately following the conclusion of the services.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Leilani Pole’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.