Dick Hill, a strong voice echoes forever


The man I will always think of as the last true Mohawk Warrior, has finally found peace. Dick Hill died early Tuesday morning.

I knew the day would come when I’d have to write this, not for an article or for any other reason than that is the way I am wired. When something tragic happens, I must write my heart because I’ve always found that easier than speaking it.

I thank the Creator that he crossed my path with Dick Hill’s. He was the bravest and strongest man I have ever encountered in my life walk and I am enriched to have known him, but humbled and grateful to be able to say that he knew me too.

Dick would always be there, protecting his people and his land. And not just his friends, he’d stand with even those who spoke badly of him or with those he didn’t particularly like.

If something was going down, it wouldn’t be long before that big black Yukon would show up. And when it did, like a magnet, people would go to the truck and almost instinctively ask him what they should do. He never asked for that role, and sometimes he would even hate it, but it would always just happen spontaneously. To me, that is the sign of a true leader and a great man.

One of the things about him I will always remember and appreciate is the many times when things were very tense and volatile, he had the ability to find a peaceful resolution if there was one to be had. I personally know of several times when he averted what could have been an extremely difficult and dangerous confrontation by talking down a possible police action against his people. Even they knew that his warnings were not empty threats.

Dick HillAs rough around the edges as he was, he was also a very thoughtful man that truly cared about people. And not only his people, but all people.

There was a big black crow that lived in a tree near our back yard. My wife named him Dick, because he seemed to be everywhere. She jokingly accused him once of being a shape shifter because, even when you couldn’t see him, he’d text me to let me know he was “on the job”. He laughed at that notion, but he didn’t deny it.

The last time I visited him was before he became bed ridden. I felt like he wanted to be alone with his thoughts so I didn’t stay long. When I left, I told him that I loved him. It was awkward, but I had to tell him. From that day, I left him to be with his family and not have to talk about this protest action, or that road closing, or anything like that.

I did disagree with one thing he told me that day, and I still do.

He said, “Ya know Jimmy boy, looking back on it all, I wonder sometimes what the hell that was all about and what difference any of it really made. Nothing has changed.”

If your listening Dick, I have changed and you were a big part of that, and I don’t think I am alone either.

Thank you for letting me into your life.


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  1. Well said Jim and anyone who had the privilege to know Mr. Hill would echo the same. He was a great interviewer and had the pulse on what was going on in his community and truly wanted what was owed to his nation.

  2. Beautiful tribute… now I am mourning the loss of a warrior I never had the chance to know. May his spirit live on.

  3. I am also saddened by Dick Hill’s passing and loss to many. Your soulful ‘tribute’ Jimmy is very touching.

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