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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


April 17, 2004 - Issue 111


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Tucker Receives Humanitarian Award at NIGA Convention

by Brenda Norrell Indian Country Today
Daniel Tucker (Photo courtesy Lee Hyeoma/NIGA)

Daniel Tucker (Photo courtesy Lee Hyeoma/NIGA)With a bald eagle present and a film tribute from his family and friends, Daniel Tucker, member of the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay, received the Wendell Chino Humanitarian Award, during the 13th Annual Convention of the National Indian Gaming Association.

Mescalero Apache President Mark Chino, son of the late great leader Wendell Chino, said, "We honor you on behalf of our family.

"We hope all of you will be inspired by what my father did and what he stood for. He believed strongly in what he did," said Chino who took office as tribal president of the southern New Mexico tribe in January.

Honoring his father’s years of service, Chino said, "He never gave up the fight - the good fight."

Tucker retired as NIGA’s vice chairman after 10 years of service and was remembered in a film tribute for his laughter, love and antics, like wearing his ever-present Southern California shorts when visiting the cold country of Wisconsin.

On the film, Rick Hill, Oneida from Wisconsin, said, "When I think of Dan Tucker, I think of love."

Tucker’s family and friends recalled his generous heart, kindness to children and hilarious and embarrassing antics during the film tribute, which urged Tucker to remember his own advice, "Life is just a party."

Referring to the bald eagle on stage, with its handler, as he received his award at the Wendell Chino Humanitarian Banquet on April 6, Tucker said the eagle’s presence brought power and strength.

"Doesn’t it feel good to have this eagle here. I feel so blessed."

Tucker reminded tribal leaders present that Wendell Chino said chairmen and vice chairmen are often not appreciated at home. But when election time comes, they are the ones elected. The late Wendell Chino was repeatedly re-elected and served for 43 years.

Tucker urged those gathered to love their families. "Don’t get bogged down." He also urged them to be ready to fight the good fight in Washington.

"Do not be afraid to commit to what you believe in." He said when it is time to fight for sovereignty and battle for Indian rights in Washington, D.C., "it is important to show up."

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