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. Memorial
services for Chairman Burke are pending but the Tribe will share that information with the public
as it becomes available.
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."
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.