Virus claims Celilo leader

Virus claims Celilo leader

Bobby Begay, 51, a Celilo Village leader, Yakama tribal member and Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commssion’s (CRITFC) lead fish technician, died Friday, April 25 from COVID-19 complications, according to a Facebook post from CRITFC.

A resident of Celilo Village east of The Dalles, Begay was the first to die from the disease in Wasco County and had underlying conditions, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

The CRITFC release stated, “Bobby was dedicated to his family, the Celilo community, salmon, the river, and tribal culture. He was a bridge builder who connected many groups and individuals across cultural divides. His example of intertribal brotherhood embodied the hopes and values envisioned by tribal leaders from the Yakama, Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Nez Perce tribes when they first came together to form CRITFC.

“Bobby Begay was an incredibly generous person and had a willingness to share not only his harvest, but the message of why salmon, lamprey and the river are central to (Native American) culture. He did so for countless groups with enthusiasm and humor.

“We extend our thoughts and prayers to his family and the entire Celilo Village and mourn with them the loss of a remarkable man.”

CRITFC previously issued a warning to those who attended the First Foods Ceremony at Celilo Village in early April that they may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

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