|Birth: ||Jul. 16, 1937|
|Death: ||Apr. 16, 2000|
Joe DeLaCruz died April 16 at the age of 62. Among many other distinctions, he had been President of the Quinault Indian Nation, the National Congress of American Indians, the National Tribal Chairmen's Association and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians. He made monumental contributions to tribal education, health care, economic development, natural resource management and self- governance. "He was one of the greatest Indian leaders who ever lived in the United States," said Billy Frank, Jr. chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. DeLaCruz served the tribes faithfully for more than three decades, amassing vast experience as a leader in natural resource management, health care, education, economic diversity, governance and tribal culture. He was a staunch supporter of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, a founding member of the Northwest Renewable Resources Center, co-chair of the Commission on State-Tribal Relations, one of the creators of the Pacific Salmon Commission and member of the Washington State Historical Society. The Centennial Accord, signed by Governor Booth Gardner and tribal chairs from throughout Washington in the state's centennial year of 1989, was Joe DeLaCruz's idea – an idea that has since captured the imagination of indigenous people and governments throughout the world. The Tribal Self-Governance Program, which he also helped originate, likewise converted the principles of tribal sovereignty and government-to-government relations into reality. These, and many other DeLaCruz achievements in the arena of tribal self-determination, were the manifestation of beliefs which he expressed as follows:
"No right is more sacred to a nation, to a people, than the right to freely determine its social, economic, political and cultural future without external interference. The fullest expression of this right occurs when a nation freely governs itself. We call the exercise of this right self-determination. The practice
of this right is self-government."
More than 2,000 people – tribal officials from near and far, elected representatives, friends, neighbors and family members – commemorated the life of "Skinny Joe" DeLaCruz at services conducted April 22 at the new Quinault Tribal Resort in Ocean Shores. "Joe DeLaCruz will always be a part of Washington state, just as this land was always a part of him," said Governor Gary Locke. Younger brother Franklin DeLaCruz placed a wooden staff in the casket,
adorned with carvings of a two-headed wolf, the DeLaCruz family crest, as well as a bear, an eagle, an orca and a spawning salmon, signifying the circle of life. "He needs to go to the other side with something like this powerful staff," he said. DeLaCruz was buried on the Colville Reservation April 24 – an agreement between he and his wife, Dorothy, a Colville tribal member. Other survivors include three daughters, two sons, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
"Passages: Joe DeLaCruz" Northwest Indian Fisheries News, Spring, 2000.
Hall Creek Cemetery
Created by: Tenalquot
Record added: Feb 09, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 65398088
Added: Aug. 6, 2011