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Pyramid Lake Tribal Chairman Memorial Service Tuesday

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Pyramid Lake Tribal Chairman Wayne Burke Pyramid Lake Tribal Chairman Wayne Burke

A memorial service for Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Chairman Wayne Burke is scheduled for next Tuesday, November 6th at 11am at the Nixon Gym.

In lieu of flowers, the Tribe is asking for monetary donations to help the Burke family. Just go to the Bank of America branch in Fernley (located at 1480 US Highway 95A N) or call 775-575-7717. Donations can be made under the name 'Wayne Burke.'

The Washoe County Medical Examiner's Office said Thursday an autopsy shows Burke died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

(A memorial service flyer is attached)


Wayne Burke, Tribal Chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe died early Sunday morning in Nixon. Burke, hailed as a passionate advocate for Native American Veterans affairs and water rights to Pyramid Lake was 38 years old.

The cause of Chairman Burke's death is still under investigation at this time by Tribal Police and is pending the results of an autopsy, however the death is not suspicious and no foul play is suspected. The Tribe requests that everyone please keep the Chairman's Family in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time and that they respect their privacy.

Tribal Vice Chairman Mervin Wright Jr. who will succeed Burke as Tribal Chairman through the end of the year, praised him for his leadership of the Nevada Tribe of over 2,600 enrolled members. "With a very heavy heart and profound sadness I must share the tragic news that our Tribal Chairman Wayne Burke passed away on October 28, 2012. We wish Chairman Burke's widow, Leticia Burke and children Alec, Cristian, and Soleil our sincere condolences, prayers and love during this difficult time.

Wright continued. "Chairman Burke served the Tribe with honor and distinction and was instrumental in moving forward a long list of accomplishments that have benefited all of us. We will continue to move his and the Tribe's agenda forward. On behalf of the Tribe and the Tribal Council, I want to assure you that while we grieve the passing of Chairman Burke, the Tribe will continue to function effectively and despite this terrible loss, we will push on and continue to implement all of the important initiatives we work for day after day."

Chairman Burke was an enrolled member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and was first elected to the Tribal Council in 2010. He was elected Tribal Chairman in 2011 and has been a passionate advocate for Native American Veteran issues and water rights for Pyramid Lake.

Earlier this year Governor Brian Sandoval appointed him to the Nevada Commission on Tourism, becoming the first Native American leader to serve on the commission since it was created in 1983. He was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a professional artist who spent countless hours painting portraits and working with nonprofit organizations in the community.

(Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe)

Governor Brian Sandoval made the following statement after learning of Burke's death:

"I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Chairman Wayne Burke today. Chairman Burke was a vocal advocate for Pyramid Lake and tribal issues, and I admired his leadership. Wayne Burke valiantly served his country in the Marine Corps and I was proud to call him a friend. A recent appointee to the Commission on Tourism, Chairman Burke's voice will be missed. Kathleen and I extend our deepest sympathies to Chairman Burke's family and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe."

U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) issued the following statement:

"Chairman Burke truly was a great advocate for the Pyramid Lake Tribe and veterans in Nevada. His service to our country, state, and to his Tribe was truly admirable and his legacy will be felt for years to come. I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. His unwavering committment to this Great state will be missed," said Senator Dean Heller.

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