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Statement on the passing of Chairman Rupert Steele

The University of Utah and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion join the American Indian Resource Center and others who are mourning the loss of Chairman Rupert Steele of the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation. University President, Taylor Randall said, “Chairman Steele was not only a strong leader of the Goshute and an advocate for native peoples, he was also an active member of our U campus community as an instructor, mentor and an alum.” President Randall noted in particular Chairman Steele’s role in a recent Environmental Humanities Symposium on the Great Salt Lake. “His voice was so important—and will be greatly missed.”

Vice president of EDI, Mary Ann Villarreal agreed and noted the decades of work the chairman spent fighting for the Indian Child Welfare Act and the preservation of the Shoshoni language. “No one fought harder or more publicly for these vitally important causes,” Villarreal said. “He insisted on the recognition of indigenous peoples as the original stewards of this land,” she added, “and his efforts made a tremendous difference in the visibility of the indigenous community here at the U.”

Both President Randall and VP Villarreal extend their deep sympathies to Chairman Steele’s family, his community, and all who looked to his leadership.