March 29, 2002
Jourdain, longtime Red Lake tribal chairman, dies
Tribal Chairman of the Red Lake Band Roger Jourdain, left, is shown
here with Wendell Chino tribal leader of the Mescalero Apache in this
1989 file photo on the shores of Red Lake, Minn. Jourdain died
Thursday, March 21, 2002 in Bemidji, Minn. He was 89. (AP file Photo/The
Pioneer of Bemidji, Monte Draper, file photo)
Minn. (AP) -- Roger Jourdain, who for 31 years was tribal chairman of
Lake Band of Chippewa, died Thursday night at a Bemidji hospital. He
He worked as
a heavy machinery operator on such projects as the Alaska Highway and
Bemidji airport. In 1959, after the Red Lake Band passed a new
requiring direct election of leaders, Jourdain was elected chairman.
He became a
leading voice on Indian affairs in Washington and held the post until
1986, Jourdain was named Indian Man of the Year by the American Indian
tenure was also marked by controversy, including a two-day riot and
the reservation in 1979 that led to an FBI investigation, the burning
house and car and threats against his life.
Lawrence, owner-editor of the Native American Press/Ojibwe News and a
Jourdain's, battled frequently with him over such issues as defendants'
in tribal courts.
``I had my
differences with him over the years,'' Lawrence said. ``He had complete
of that council -- you didn't get anything done unless you agreed with
tenure ended, Lawrence said they became friendly again. ``I realized
was a consummate politician,'' Lawrence said. ``He brought home a lot
programs. He also established a strong tribal government and worked
been hospitalized for about a month at North Regional Hospital in
Bemidji. In a
statement, the Red Lake Band Tribal Council said he died of natural
survived by a son, Roddy of Red Lake; a sister, Ruth Fevig of Redby;
grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren and three
was held on Wednesday, March 27, on the Red Lake reservation.