Gordon Tootoosis, 69, Canadian actor and First Nations leader passed away from pneumonia at St. Paul's hospital in Saskatoon on Tuesday, July 6, 2011. Tootoosis appeared in a number of notable Canadian and American productions, including Legends of the Fall, North of 60 and Disney's Pocahontas. He earned membership in the Order of Canada in 2004 for his achievements as a role model for Aboriginal youth. Apart from his television and film roles, Tootoosis was also involved in First Nations politics. He was part of the National Indian Brotherhood and was the former vice-president of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. Tootoosis is a descendent of Yellow Mud Blanket, brother of the Cree chief Poundmaker, who played a pivotal role in the Northwest resistance of 1885. He was born on Poundmaker Cree Nation on Oct. 25, 1941, and was raised with his 13 siblings before being taken from home and placed in a residential school.  In 1965 Tootoosis married Irene Seseequasis, with whom he raised three daughters and two adopted sons.  He is survived by his wife, Irene, four children and grandchildren. His daughter, Glynis, passed away from cancer more than a decade ago, but Tootoosis and his wife had been caring for their grandchildren ever since.  Tootoosis took an interest in powwow dance and rodeo roping, going on to tour with the Plains Intertribal Dance Troupe in the 1960s and 1970s, travelling across Canada, Europe and South America. His first acting role was alongside Donald Sutherland in the 1973 film Alien Thunder. Most recently Tootoosis played the lead role in Gordon Winter, by Saskatoon playwright Kenneth T. Williams that is a fictionalized account of a controversial aboriginal leader inspired by the life and times of David Ahenakew.  07-06-11

 

Robert William Briggs, 42, of Hillsboro, Iowa, formerly of Keokuk, Iowa, passed away June 28, 2011 from injuries received on April 16, 2005, for which he received the Purple Heart Award, while serving his country in Iraq. He is survived by his wife Michelle, and their children Ashlea, and Cody. He was born in Keokuk, Iowa, to Robert A. and Sandra Steele Briggs, of Keokuk, Iowa, who survive. He is also survived by his sister, Brenda, her husband, Terry Best and their children Chelsi, Lydia, Caleb, Tiffany, Sean, Alexis and Alex, many Nieces, Nephews, Aunts and Uncles. He was preceded by his grandparents Russell and Alma Steele and William H. and Lelah Briggs of Keokuk.  Bob was also extremely proud of his Native American heritage. 06-28-11

 

The Navajo Nation is mourning the loss of Navajo Police Sergeant Darrell Cervanez Curley. He was shot in the line of duty Saturday night while responding to a domestic dispute between two brothers in the small town of Kaibito just south of Page, Arizona, on the reservation. Transported to a hospital in Page, Sgt. Curley, 48, died from the gunshot wounds early Sunday morning.  A spokesperson told PoliceOne.com that no suspects are at large but declined to say if they were arrested or may have also been shot. The FBI is assisting with the investigation.  Navajo Nation flags will be flown at half staff from June 27 to June 30 in honor of Curley, a 26-year veteran of the Navajo Police Department.  “He was well known throughout the Four Corners region of each state, as well as by his constituent’s throughout the Navajo Nation,” Colonel John Billison, executive director of the Navajo Division of Public Safety, said in a statement. “Sgt. Curley proudly served on behalf of not only his family, but for the tribe and he has done so with great dedication, honor integrity and respect for all. As all law enforcement officers across the United States of America, he proudly served and dedicated his life to uphold the laws and constitutional rights of each citizen, in which he swore to protect and to serve.”  06-23-11

 

Robert Wayne Joe Sr., 76, Swinomish, Washington, a member of the Swinomish Senate for 25 years and chairman for 18, passed away June 21 at his home.  “Robert Joe was a great man. He was my teacher, my elder and my uncle. The results of his work can be seen throughout our entire community and his leadership was felt across Indian Country and the United States. While we mourn his loss, we also celebrate the life of this great man,” said Brian Cladoosby, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Chairman. Joe, whose Swinomish name was Wa-wal-ton, was born on February 16, 1935 to Andrew and Louise (John) Joe. Growing up, he was an altar boy, a puller on the canoe “Whispering Arrow,” and a three-sport athlete at La Conner High School. He fished in Alaska and Washington.  He was first elected Swinomish chairman in 1978.  06-21-11