Former longtime White Mountain Apache tribal chairman dies

White Mountain Apache Tribal Chairman Ronnie Lupe leads an opening prayer during Indian Nations and Tribes Legislation Day at the Arizona Senate chamber Jan. 16, 2007, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

White Mountain Apache Tribal Chairman Ronnie Lupe leads an opening prayer during Indian Nations and Tribes Legislation Day at the Arizona Senate chamber Jan. 16, 2007, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

WHITERIVER, Ariz. (AP) — A former longtime chairman of the White Mountain Apache Tribe has died at 89.

Tribal officials say Ronnie Lupe died Aug. 12.

Lupe served as the tribe's chairman for 36 years before leaving office in May 2018 after deciding not to seek a 10th term.

Prior to his long tenure as chairman, Lupe served in the U.S. Marine Corps and as a member of White Mountain Apache Tribal Council.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a statement that Lupe "was a man of great compassion" and "a strong leader who did not shy away from challenging the federal government on many issues, but he did so in a respectful and tactful way."

Funeral services are pending.

A list of Lupe's survivors wasn't immediately available.

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