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Emily Russell
North Country Public Radio

AKWESASNE - A tribal chief in Akwesasne died suddenly over the weekend. Darryl Lazore represented Akwesasne’s district north of the Canadian border for six years. Before that, he had a 35-year career as an ironworker in New York City.

Darryl "Kermit" Lazore was the kind of guy people in Akwesasne turned to if they needed anything, said his good friend Tim Thompson.

“Darryl would be one of those guys that would take the shirt off his back to help you. He was very kind and always wanted to help someone that was in need.”

Thompson served with Lazore on the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.

Lazore was first elected in 2015. Thompson said a lot of Lazore’s work on the Council was focused on housing. He’d push for people’s applications to get approved by the Housing Authority and would help renovate people’s homes.

“He talked about being in New York City on 9/11 and what he’s seen," Thompson said. "He was very dedicated to his work as an ironworker and knew the stress of it, the stress on his family, but he also always came home on the weekends to be with his family.”

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Family, Thompson said, was Lazore’s greatest love. He’d brag about his son, who just finished his first year at Clarkson. He’d boast about his eldest daughter starting at St. Lawrence University in the fall and about his younger daughter, who’s on the high school swim team in Massena.

Thompson knows all the latest on Lazore’s kids. The two got together just a few days ago.

“He just happened to be sitting on my porch on Saturday afternoon and we had that discussion about his family and going to school and stuff. To hear the news on Sunday morning that he passed, I was totally flabbergasted. I was shocked.”

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne described Lazore’s passing as a great loss for the community. In a statement, the Council highlighted Lazore’s work along the border. He was a liaison between the US, Canada, and the Mohawk people. and also served on the Northern Tribal Border Alliance.

Lazore was really well respected in Akwesasne, Thompson said. When it came to their friendship, though, Lazore always knew how to lighten the mood.

“We always harassed each other about different things, jokingly, and I think that’s what I’ll miss the most— our joking together.”

Darryl Lazore died over the weekend. The Council didn’t provide a cause of death. 

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