Indian Gaming Association Mourns the loss of former NCAI President Veronica Homer

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March 20, 2024

Washington, D.C. – March 20, 2024 – The Indian Gaming Association mourns the loss of former National Congress of American Indians President Veronica L. Homer, who passed away on Monday, March 4, 2024, in Parker, Arizona, following a prolonged illness. Today, funeral services for Veronica took place in Parker, Arizona.

Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. shared, “Veronica Murdock Homer’s influence transcended mere leadership; she embodied mentorship, hope, and an unwavering commitment to justice. Her zeal for social equity and amplification of Indigenous voices will resonate for generations to come. Personally, Veronica’s guidance has deeply impacted my own leadership journey; she was not just a respected colleague but a dear friend and mentor.

Stevens added, “Throughout her time in leadership, Veronica’s visionary guidance opened pathways for progress and empowerment in Indigenous communities nationwide. Her legacy as a staunch advocate for Native rights and cultural heritage will reverberate through history’s corridors.”

As we grieve the loss of this remarkable leader, we simultaneously celebrate Veronica Murdock Homer’s enduring life and impact. Her indomitable spirit, resilience, and devotion to her people will forever be cherished and honored.” Stevens concluded.

Veronica Homer, of Shasta–Mohave descent and a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, had a remarkable career in tribal administration. She notably served as the vice chair of the Colorado River Tribe from 1969 to 1979 and later became the first female president of the National Congress of American Indians from 1977 to 1979. Following her time in tribal leadership roles, she worked as a civil service employee with the Bureau of Indian Affairs from 1980 to 2004.

Veronica was one of eight siblings born on December 5, 1943, in Parker, Arizona. She attended Parker High School and made her mark early on by winning the inaugural Miss Indian Arizona pageant in 1961 while studying at Arizona State University. Her achievements led to her being selected as the majorette and leader for the Arizona Inter–Tribal Band in President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Parade.

Veronica’s commitment to her community was unwavering. Throughout the years, she was involved in various initiatives, including resource development, healthcare, job training, and more, all aimed at improving the lives of the people she served. Her tenure as the NCAI president in the late 1970s was marked by a dedication to tribal recognition and sovereignty, as she advocated for indigenous rights amidst evolving federal policies.

After her time at NCAI, Veronica continued her service within the Bureau of Indian Affairs, first as a Tribal Operations Specialist at the Colorado River Agency and then as a Tribal Operations Officer in Western Nevada. She eventually rose to the position of Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., before becoming the Superintendent of the Salt River Agency in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In 2004, after decades of dedicated federal service, Veronica retired and co-founded Women Empowering Women for Indian Nations, which later evolved into Women Empowering Women for Indigenous Nations (WEWIN), a prominent organization supporting Indigenous women in Indian Country. Her legacy of service and empowerment continues to inspire all who knew her.

Veronica’s funeral occurred today, March 20, 2024, at Parker High School Alumni Hall. Following this, a traditional service is scheduled from 6:30 PM to 3:00 AM at Colorado River Indian Tribes Big House in Parker, Arizona. Tomorrow, March 21, 2024, a traditional cremation rite will be held at 3:00 AM at Colorado River Indian Tribes Cemetery. A luncheon will follow on Thursday from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM at Bluewater Resort & Casino.