A Life Worth Remembering, Reflected in the Actions of Lives Touched

By:      Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com

The importance of mentoring and just setting a good example can never be overstated. It impacts people beyond your immediate circle, and it affects people for years. It inspires, and it multiplies your efforts, your values and your ethics in ways that you will never hear about, but others will. Take for example the recent message I received from Racheal White Hawk, one of the associates in our practice group:

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Very sad news, Frank LaMere has passed away.  He was a well-respected activist and Winnebago tribal member from Nebraska, my home state. He fought very hard for many Native issues in Nebraska and nationally. One of his main goals was to shut down the liquor stores in the ten-person town of Whiteclay, Nebraska. The liquor stores bordered the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and the stores profited immensely from selling nearly 5 million cans of beer each year to Natives living on the reservation, where alcohol was prohibited. After nearly 20 years, he was finally able to stop the sales in 2017. Many people in our community, including myself, looked up to him as a mentor and a leader. He served seven consecutive times as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Here is a nice article about him in the Omaha World Herald, “Native American activist Frank LaMere, dead at 69, remembered as a ‘true civil rights leader’.” 

This note touched me in so many ways. That Racheal felt compelled to let us know about this person that clearly sent her on a professional and ethical direction was insightful.  That she shared a personal connection with Mr. LaMere and wanted to share that connection and his importance made me wonder—how many others did Mr. LaMere touch, that also sent a note to their colleagues to celebrate his legacy? I am sure that there were many.  Follow the Omaha World Herald link above and learn a little about his legacy.

I wish I would have had the chance to know this Leader from the Winnebago Tribe, but I am so thankful for his life’s work to have generated inspiration to young Native lawyers like Racheal. While he has walked on, we can still hear his footsteps.

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Ted Griswold is head of Procopio’s Native American Law Practice Group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle.  Connect with Ted at ted.griswold@procopio.com and 619.515.3277.