On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, George “Skip” Duhamel, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB), walked on to the spirit world, leaving behind family and friends to remember and mourn his loss. Skip was a GTB treaty fisher who long ago followed in his father, Arthur Duhamel’s footsteps, to exercise treaty fishing rights. Skip stood firm in his belief that these rights were inherent, and fought vigorously to establish, then preserve them, for future GTB tribal members–true to the seven-generation teachings. The landmark case resulting from such a fight, GTB v Director, MDNR, et al, was upheld on appeal in 1998, and proved to be a great victory for Indian treaty rights. The opinions are included with this article.
Skip was also known to be a sensitive artist and a silver-smith; and in his youth, protector of younger Indians in the tribal community.
His obituary is included with this post; it outlines additional accomplishments and information about Skip’s legacy. Skip was a wonderful father, son, and friend to all who knew him and he will be sorely missed by the tribal community and the non-native community as well.
Earlier this week, on Sunday, July 6, 2014, Robert “Bobby Joe” Memberto, a member of the Little River Band of Odawa Indians (LRB), and LRB Director of Commerce, also walked on to the spirit world. An article on Bobby Joe can be found here: http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2014/07/little_river_band_of_ottawa_in_1.html
Bobby Joe was a wonderful friend and family man. He was well known throughout Michigan’s Indian community, as well as the non-native communities. Governor Snyder wrote a letter of condolences to Bobby Joe’s family, which was read at service and feast held in Bobby Joe’s honor on July 9th. Bobby Joe will be greatly missed by LRB and GTB communities, as well as the non-native community.