/ Modified jun 25, 2021 8:33 a.m.

Former Havasupai chairman dies at 73

Rex Tilousi was an advocate against uranium mining within the Grand Canyon, home of the tribe.

Havasupai Tilousi Former Havasupai Chairman Rex Tilousi died Saturday, June 19 in Flagstaff.
Courtesy of the Havasupai Tribe

Former Havasupai Chairman Rex Tilousi died, Saturday, June 19 in Flagstaff at 73 years old.

Tilousi was an advocate against uranium mining within the Grand Canyon — the Havasupai Tribe's homelands — but also around the world, according to a press release from the tribe. Being exposed to uranium contamination can lead to serious health issues, like different cancers or kidney failure — all real threats for residents of the Colorado Plateau which at one time had about 22 mills, according to the Grand Canyon Trust.

Tilousi also served the tribe as a vice chairman and worked as a cultural interpreter at the Grand Canyon. According the the release, along with being an environmental justice advocate for the Grand Canyon region, he also worked to preserve Havasupai songs and culture, and was a round dance song and gourd singer.

His private wake will be Friday in Supai within the Havasupai tribal lands followed by a public funeral on Saturday in Grand Canyon Village.

Public funeral: June 26 from 5 p.m. - 5 a.m. Shrine of Ages 20 South Entrance Road Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023

Correction: There once were 22 uranium mills in the Colorado Plateau.

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