Hoopa Mourns Loss of Tribal Leader

Leroy "Bitsy" Jackson


(see below story for full obituary)

The flags outside of the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council Office flew half-mast on Monday, March 18, 2013.

Inside, the Council Chambers were unusually quiet after news of Councilmember LeRoy “Bitsy” Jackson’s death traveled quietly, bringing the close-knit community to its knees.

Jackson served as a councilmember for the Hoopa Valley Tribe since 2001 when he was elected to represent the Bald Hill district. In 2008 he was elected to represent the Mesket Field District, the seat he occupied until his untimely death.

Jackson was known for his work in Washington D.C. and his ever-attentive work on Trinity and Klamath River water issues.

“He was our main man in D.C.,” fellow Councilmember, Hayley Hutt said. “He was well-liked there and fought hard for the rivers and self-governance.”

Ron Allen, Executive Committee member of the National Congress of American Indians, said he could always count on LeRoy as someone who fought for self-governance.

“We will miss him a lot,” Allen said. “He was a good man with a warrior spirit.”

Jackson worked hard for his Tribe and his dedication was recognized on the home front as well as throughout the nation by other tribal leaders, federal agency leaders, U.S. and state politicians and staffers who looked forward to seeing him smile as he walked in the door.

“I had the privilege and pleasure of working with Mr. LeRoy Jackson in countless meetings in Washington D.C. over the course of more than a decade,” Jennifer Hughes, a lobbyist said. “Whether it was in the Self-Governance Advisory Committee, in congressional offices or the Department of Interior, he was always there to strongly advocate for Hoopa’s positions. We will miss his smiling face as he would walk through our office doors, ready to take on the difficult D.C. issues to promote the best interests of the Hoopa Valley Tribe. Many prayers to his family during this sad time.”

But, he wasn’t always smiling. Often he was the hard-hitter in D.C. meetings, ready to hold beureaucrats to their word and duty to protect resources of the Tribe.

Will Mcklin, leader of the of California Association of Tribal Governments, and member of an Alaskan Tribe said, “When a great loss is felt by so many or for the loss of a loved one we say, “Goosh ee waan—have courage, and keep him in eternal memory.”

Jackson will be greatly missed.

Obituary published on March 23, 2013

Leroy T. “Bitsy” Jackson was born on November 18th 1949. He traveled to the eternal dance place on Monday March 18th, 2013 at his loving home in Hoopa.

Most people would know him as Bitsy because he was itsy bitsy as a child and the name Bitsy stuck. He was born and raised on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation attending grade school and High School graduating in 1968. Bitsy was currently serving as the Mesket Field Representative for the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council. He held a council seat for 12 years. He drove logging trucks and was a creative carpenter. Bitsy loved to hunt, fish, and cut wood. Bitsy was known for sniffing out the mushrooms. He knew how to pan for gold and could be heard playing the piano when no one was looking. Survived by his wife Leslie Sais Jackson.

Children: Mikyowe, Silis, Nah-tes & Rachel, Darcy, Harold, Samuel, and Margaret Mary. Grandchildren: Keduscha, Lousia, Lacey, Quincy, Nah-tes Dale, Alexia, David, Shane “Cash Crop” Ulrich and Baby Lucas Garcia. Sisters Lillian Hostler, Laura Ferris, Leona Jackson, Lila Gerstner and JD, brothers Lincoln Jackson and Janet, and Sonny Jackson. Sister In-Laws Mary Dukes, and Linda Blake. His very special woodcutting buddy Thomas Goodie Masten, And numerous nieces and nephews.

Proceeded in death by his parents Jimmy and Pearl Jackson, brothers Leonard, Leland and Chief Jackson; Grand parents Louise and Ned Jackson; Laura and George Green. Nieces Kathy “Ducks” Colegrove, Joni Ferris, and Shirlene “Sweetie” Jackson, Nephews Michael “Bunkie” Ferris, Dale LeMieux, Jasper Little Horse Hostler, Hilton “John Silver” Hostler, and Brother-In-Law Bobby Hostler.

Officiating: Mike Hostler

Pallbearers: Michal, Donald, Ryan, Robert Jay, Bunchie, Harold O’s, James McCovey, and Samuel Honorary Pallbearers: Thomas Goodie Masten, Forksie Montgomery, Wayne Grant, Joe Joe Jarnaghan, Rocky Mckinnon, Lyle Mckinnon, Gary Mckinnon, Jack Badgeley, Jerry Davis, Jim Allen, Jeff Hodge Sr, Lonnie Ferris, Dennis Jackson, Stanley Murphy Green, Sylvester Brown, Doug Brown, Freddie Brown, Oscar Brown, Sonny Jackson, Tom Schlosser, Augie Montgomery, Byron Nelson Sr, Joe LeMieux, Lyle Marshall, Danny Jordan, Dale Risling, Dave Vigil, Spam Ferris, Frank Lara, Dale Lara, Peter Lara, Lyle Jackson, Keith Baldy, Stan The Man Ferris, Elrod Masten, George Moon, John Baily, Arthur Jones, Levi Zuni, Chris Peters, Mike Lente, Mike Roberts, Carl Colegrove, Black Snake, JD Gerstner, Boyd Ferris, Bill Carpenter, Rick Bradberry, John Knox, Jim Dunn, Paul Toe James, Dean Powell, Guy Lund, Gary Dempewolf, Kurt Dempewolf, Jude Hostler, Tony Mattz, Phil Mattz, Art Dickson, James Mooney, JW Mooney, Ed Masten, William Jarnaghan, Rowds Robbins, Thomas Luna Sr, Lucas Garcia, Tom Vanburgan, Johnson Colegrove, Daniel Pratt, Hank Masten, Valentino Luna, Santiago Cruz, Thomas Luna Jr, Emmannuel Luna, Shane Luna, Alex Hodge, Jeffery Hodge Jr, Max Hodge, Lance Mccovey, James Smith, Jason Smith, John Smith, Jon Smith, Jamar Smith, Joe Smith, Hilton Hostler III, Norvin Hostler, and Ralphy Peters III.

Viewing was held at Pauls Chapel in Arcata. Services were held at the neighborhood facilities in Hoopa, Calif. on Monday March 25, 2013. Interment followed at the Brown Cemetery on Pine Creek Road. A Reception was held at the Hoopa Community Center.

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