Robin Poor Bear (1977-2015)

Shown: Robin Charboneau, a Native American single mom, struggling to raise her children and heal herself from the wounds of addiction and sexual abuse.

Shown: Robin Charboneau, a Native American single mom, struggling to raise her children and heal herself from the wounds of addiction and sexual abuse. (Courtesy: FRONTLINE)

November 25, 2015

Robin Poor Bear, the “Kind Hearted Woman” profiled in the 2013 FRONTLINE/Independent Lens film of the same name by David Sutherland, passed away at her North Dakota home last weekend.

Viewers first met Poor Bear, who was previously known as Robin Charboneau, as the divorced single mother of two was returning home after a 20-day stay in rehab. The film followed her for more than three years as the Oglala Sioux woman confronted the aftereffects of the sexual abuse she suffered as a child and fought to keep her family together through a custody battle — all while pursuing her dream of a college degree and a career as a social worker.

After the film aired, Poor Bear traveled the country, speaking to community groups and sharing her story. “Thank you to each and every one of the communities that have hired me to come and share my journey with them,” she wrote us in September 2013. “It is hard to discuss the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, chemical recovery and systematic letdowns. People have reached out and continue to reach out to listen, discuss and open the doors of healing for others.”

FRONTLINE extends its deepest condolences to Robin’s children Darian and Anthony, as well as the rest of her family.

Update (11/30):
Darian has issued the following statement:

I would like to thank the community for coming together and helping and praying for my brother and I. Also thank you to Evans funeral home. They have taken such good care of her and have been really caring and delicate with everything during this difficult time. Thank you for All the donations we have received. Sister Joann Streifel, Betty Jo Krenz and I will continue forward with mom’s dream. The creator just needed her back home, he needed her spirit back. And her work here was done. I know I will never be able to measure up to her, but it’s our time to take what she has taught us and finish what she started with the help of Joann and Betty Jo.

You can leave a condolence message for the family here.

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