Ferrell Secakuku, 69, former chairman of the Hopi Tribe, died July 25, 2007, in Flagstaff. He was born Nov. 13, 1937, in the village of Sipaulovi, Second Mesa.
Mr. Secakuku led the Hopi Tribe from 1994 to 1997. During his term he helped negotiate a settlement to end a longstanding land dispute with the Navajo Nation. He also helped secure funding for a new Hopi Health Care Center. While serving as chairman he also was elected president of the Intertribal Council of Arizona, and helped secure federal funding to fight the diabetes epidemic in Indian Country. He worked to protect Hopi sacred sites and unify tribes across the Unites States to speak with one voice to protect tribal sovereignty and federal funding.
Prior to his election as chairman, Mr. Secakuku served on the Hopi tribal council as a representative from Sipaulovi village. He was also a successful businessman and farmer.
In 2006, he completed a master's degree in anthropology from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Mr. Secakuku returned to school to help preserve the Hopi way of life and the importance of Hopi culture and teachings. He also sought to teach and expand the use of the Hopi language by recording and performing children's songs in Hopi.
Mr. Secakuku was a member of the Snake Clan in Sipaulovi. He remained faithful to his religious ceremonial responsibilities before, during and after his term as chairman.
Mr. Secakuku had requested that Hopi traditional ways be followed during this time. Therefore there will be no public memorial. A traditional burial took place Thursday at Sipaulovi, Second Mesa.
Secakuku is survived by six daughters: Bonnie Secakuku, Kim Secakuku, Deborah Secakuku-Baker, Susan Secakuku, JoAnn Secakuku-Joseph, and Caralee Secakuku.