COLT Member Tribes Mourn the Loss of Ada Deer


Ada Deer, citizen of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, a federally-recognized tribe, has walked on. Deer, born on the Menominee Indian reservation, near Keshena, WI, triumphantly led her tribe to be restored from the dark days of the federal government’s Termination Era.

Trained in social work, Deer always put the best interests of Indian people at the fore of her ferocious advocacy, eventually becoming Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs under President Bill Clinton.

Ada DeerPhoto c/o USDA, taken by Bob Nichols

She was instrumental in making sure that Alaska Natives were fully acknowledged by the United States.

As a leader on many fronts, Deer was the first chairwoman of her tribe, the first woman to serve as assistant secretary of Indian Affairs, and the first Native American woman to run for U.S. Congress paving the way for Native Americans, especially women, in all walks of life.

“Today we mourn the loss of Ada Deer,” stated Marvin Weatherwax, Chairman of the Coalition of Large Tribes and a member of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council. “All of Native America lost a warrior who fought for all of us for so many decades. We must fight just as hard as she did. Our sovereignty depends on it.”

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