The Great mohawk Chief Joe Norton, Kahnawake, passed away, Friday, at the age of 70 years.
His death was announced late evening by the mohawk Council of Kahnawake.
Mr. Norton had fallen earlier in the day at his home and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. “He died with his family at his side to 20: 30,” said the Council in a press release.
“His death is a shock to his colleagues Ratsénhaienhs (heads the Council), and the whole community, because he had participated in the weekly meeting of the Council there are just five days,” says the Council.
Mr. Norton had had some health problems a few weeks ago and had taken leave to recover.
Joe Norton has been elected for the first time to the mohawk Council of Kahnawake on the South Shore of Montreal, in 1978. He became Grand Chief in 1982 and has led the Council until his retirement in 2004. He served 13 consecutive terms during this period.
It is he who was Great Chief at Kahnawake in 1990 during the Oka crisis, which involved more directly in the mohawk community of Kanesatake, but also his support of the cause. His negotiation skills had been recognized during this crisis.
“Although many consider that it is of its moment, its role in our history goes well beyond the events of thirty years ago. Under his leadership, Kahnawake has experienced an unprecedented growth in many areas, particularly in economic development and the battle to restore and extend the jurisdiction of Kahnawake”, one can read in the press release from the Council.
In 2002, he was awarded a national award of excellence-aboriginal for his public service.
Joe Norton was back in policy in 2015, and was re-elected Grand Chief. His death Friday, he was in his second term since his return.
Born Joseph Tokwiro Norton in Kahnawake, he had become editor of steel and went to work in this field in the United States before returning to Kahnawake and politics. His community remembers him also as a coach of the team butts local.