OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Nebraska Democratic Party (NDP) says one of their own, a well-known activist for Native American issues and the Democratic National Committee, has died.
They say, "Frank LaMere, a member of the Winnebago Nation of Nebraska and first associate chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, left this earth Sunday after a brief fight with cancer, leaving a legacy of leadership on myriad social justice issues."
The NDP says LaMere stood against issues like the Keystone XL Pipeline, alcohol sales near reservations, police brutality and more.
LaMere was the longest serving Native American on the the Democratic National Committee.
You can read NDP's full release below:
Frank LaMere, a member of the Winnebago Nation of Nebraska and first associate chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, left this earth Sunday after a brief fight with cancer, leaving a legacy of leadership on myriad social justice issues.
LaMere, 69, was a stalwart advocate of justice, standing on the front lines to protect and advocate for Indian children, addressing police brutality against Indian people, fighting against alcohol sales near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and leading on countless other issues, including the battle against the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. He stood up to violence against those most vulnerable while bringing diverse voices to the table.
In May, LaMere was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by Nebraska Wesleyan University for his legacy of championing social justice.
LaMere was the longest serving Native American member of the Democratic National Committee and founded both the Nebraska Native Caucus and the National Native Caucus of the Democratic Party.
Said NDP Chair Jane Kleeb: "Dr. Frank LaMere would often tell me, ‘We do our best for the most people’ and would immediately follow up with ideas for actions in the streets and in the halls of government. Frank was the heart of our Democratic Party and many grassroots fights across our country and nation.
“We lost a hero today who had unfinished business that we must now complete,” Kleeb said.
LaMere’s son, Manape, posted the following on Indianz.com [u1584542.ct.sendgrid.net]: “Our father Frank LaMere crossed over to the other side of this river of Life. We'll make preparations for his journey in the coming days. Pinagigi to everyone that's supported my father's battle.”
John Maisch, who created the documentary "Sober Indian Dangerous Indian" featuring LaMere,told the Omaha World-Herald [u1584542.ct.sendgrid.net] that Nebraska has "lost a true civil rights leader."
"Frank worked to give a voice to the voiceless," Maisch said. "His work to elevate the discussion on issues such as Whiteclay, Native child welfare and the environment will carry on through all of us."