Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The National Indian Gaming Association Mourns the Loss Chairman Emeritus Rick Hill

By Native News Online Staff - December 16, 2019 at 11:46PM

Rick Hill with Ernie Stevens, Jr. at National Indian Gaming Association annual convention in San Diego on March 26, 2019.

Published December 17, 2019

WASHINGTON  The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) is mourning the passing of NIGA Chairman Emeritus Rick Hill journeyed onto the Spirit World.

“Rick was a great friend and brother. He was my coach, mentor, and one of the finest tribal leaders of our time.” Stevens added, “His passing is a tremendous loss for our Indian gaming family and all of Indian country. Rick, along with other tribal gaming visionaries, paved a bright path for many generations to come. The success of Tribal Government Gaming is due in great part to his leadership, passion, and tireless dedication to serving Indian country,” says NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr.

Portrait of Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. and Chairman Emeritus Rick Hill on display at NIGA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

On the Oneida Nation, Rick was known for his early years as a very young community advocate serving on the tribal council, coaching, mentoring, and helping young people and families. Stevens recalled that in addition to his generous and heartfelt commitment to the Oneida community, Rick was an amazing and steady athlete. Strong and fast, you could often see him jogging around the reservation or in the local weight room.
“Rick excelled in just about every sport, from lacrosse to basketball and baseball. He was also on the crew team [rowing] at the University of Wisconsin. However, football was his favorite sport. One of his favorite accomplishments was fighting his way to the semi-finals in the local tough man contest where he received a bronze medal,” Stevens recalls.
“He taught us many of life’s lessons, he fed, trained and coached us. He gave every resource he had when there were few resources available in our community. He encouraged us to use our commitment to sports and transfer that energy to the responsibilities of life.” Stevens fondly shared.
“At the National Indian Gaming Association, Rick stepped in to lead at a critical point when 49 State Governors had voted to amend the Indian Gaming Tribal-State Compact Process. Rick provided the spark that kindled the council fire of Indian gaming nationwide. Working together across Indian country, we provided the Native spirit needed to defend IGRA. For those of us in Indian gaming, we all owe Rick Hill our heartfelt thanks for his many years of hard work and dedication on behalf of Native Peoples. He was one of a kind. We will always carry his memory in our hearts.” said Stevens.
“Rick always told us Indian Gaming means Jobs. Education. Health Care. Community. Indian gaming–The new Buffalo,” former National Indian Gaming Association Executive Director Mark Van Norman said. “Rick felt the heartbeat of the Native People.”
Under his leadership, from 1993 to 2001, the National Indian Gaming Association became a nationally recognized voice on all issues relating to Indian gaming at the federal level. As Chairman, he worked with the organization’s Member Tribes to establish and strengthen tribal gaming regulatory standards, fought to protect tribal sovereignty and create a strong presence in Washington, D.C. The establishment of Indian gaming advocacy and the protection of tribal sovereignty took a lot of work. While Rick Hill was the leader, I assure you he credits the national leadership, member tribes and his professional staff.
Finally, Chairman Stevens shared, “Thank you to all who have reached out. I too, am devastated, yet motivated by the strength of the Hill family and the beautiful memories of my life…Living, learning, and growing alongside the most amazing Warrior of our time.”
Rick, we offer our prayers for your journey to the Spirit World.
Services for Rick include visitations on Wednesday, December 18, at the Ryan Funeral Home & Crematory at De Pere, Wisconsin, from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Traditional Longhouse services will be from 9:00 p.m. on Dec 18 until time of service on Thursday, Dec. 19 at 7:00 a.m. at the Oneida Nation Longhouse, followed by a graveside service at the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Oneida at 9:30 a.m.


The post The National Indian Gaming Association Mourns the Loss Chairman Emeritus Rick Hill appeared first on Native News Online.

Click to Read the Full Article: Native News Online


No comments:

Post a Comment