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Longtime Havasupai leader was staunch advocate for his tribe

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Longtime Havasupai leader was staunch advocate for his tribe

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A longtime leader of the Havasupai Tribe who fought to defend its resources by lobbying against mining around the Substantial Canyon and snowmaking at an Arizona ski resort has died.

Providers for Rex Tilousi originate Friday with a historic wake at the family’s home in the village of Supai, adopted by public occasions and burial over the weekend at the Substantial Canyon, the build Tilousi retired as a cultural interpreter for the nationwide park.

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“He’s going to be there to defend it for eternity, so that equipped some comfort to the family,” said his niece, Carletta Tilousi.

Rex Tilousi died final week of natural causes with his family at his aspect, she said. He was 73.

Tilousi served as a tribal leader for greater than 30 years, alongside side multiple stints as chairman and vice president of the dinky tribe whose reservation lies deep in a gorge off the Substantial Canyon.

He also was a non secular leader, working to preserve the tribe’s manner of existence, its songs and the Substantial Canyon that was home to the Havasupai before it changed into a nationwide park, the tribe said. Chums, family and co-workers remembered him as a aloof, kind-hearted man with a warmth and welcoming spirit.

When Tilousi wrapped up interpretive talks at the Substantial Canyon, guests would apply him craving for more, said Jan Balsom, a senior adviser at the park.

“I joked about him being a buddha,” she said. “He had this pause on other folks. As they listened to him, they were brought into his world and his manner of working out the Substantial Canyon.”

As an advocate, Tilousi sought to receive firms from mining shut to the boundaries of Substantial Canyon National Park and joined diversified tribes in speaking out against snowmaking at the Arizona Snowbowl outside Flagstaff. In both cases, he feared the tribe’s water resources would possibly maybe perhaps maybe transform frightful and the tribe’s non secular practices negatively affected.

The work took him to the Arizona Legislature and across the nation and world, elevating the profile of the Havasupai Tribe.

“He was very dedicated to voicing considerations on behalf of the animals and the water and the folk,” Carletta Tilousi said. “He dedicated all his time to public carrier, and that was very spectacular.”

The federal government indirectly approved snowmaking with reclaimed water. Uranium mining has been at a standstill whereas firms wait for prices to rebound.

Stephen Hirst, the creator of a book on the Havasupai called “I am the Substantial Canyon,” had been working with Tilousi to jot down down tales and remembrances, and file songs so that Havasupai kids will maintain them.

“We didn’t glean that project executed, unfortunately, but there are some improbable tales,” Hirst said.

Roger Clark recalled thought to be one of the significant first conversations he had with Tilousi, who requested Clark why he ought to trust him as a conservationist. Clark acknowledged that Tilousi had no motive to trust him as an outsider but said he cared referring to the Substantial Canyon and would possibly maybe perhaps maybe be taught plenty from Tilousi’s connection to the land.

“He smiled and said, ‘OK, Roger Ramjet,’” Clark said, referencing a classic caricature persona who was out to set up the world.

“That truly began our relationship in a humorous, compassionate and respectful manner, and it got richer, from my point of watch, from then on,” Clark said.

On the Havasupai reservation, Tilousi hunted, rode horses and shared Havasupai tales and culture that he had to be taught later in existence. Hirst said many tribal tales were passed down throughout the winter when kids, alongside side Tilousi, were away at boarding college.

“It was exhausting for him,” Hirst said. “So he changed into definite to pause that — he learned outmoded songs.”

Tilousi graduated from Phoenix Indian College in 1967. He later attended Haskell Indian Nations College in Lawrence, Kansas.

Tilousi and his spouse, Rosella Sinyella Tilousi, had two daughters and four grandchildren. Tilousi and his spouse, who died final year, can be buried alongside every diversified and shut to diversified Havasupai tribal people at the cemetery inside Substantial Canyon National Park.

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Longtime Havasupai leader was staunch advocate for his tribe