News Release

Havasupai Tribal Council 

Former Havasupai Chairman Rex Tilousi passed away peacefully on June 19, 2021 surrounded by his family in Flagstaff, Arizona. He was a life-long advocate against uranium mine projects in the Grand Canyon, and never wavered from his outspoken support for the tribe and the people.

His advocacy helped defeat a proposed uranium dump in the Swiss Alps. He also provided testimony in the 1992 World Uranium Hearing in Salzburg, Austria. In 1998, he was hired as a Grand Canyon Park Ranger as a cultural interpreter for the Department of Interior until his retirement.

Rex dedicated his life to working on behalf of the Havasupai Tribe, serving on the Havasupai Tribal Council for more than 30 years, including multiple terms as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the tribe. He was a traditional round dance song and gourd singer. He worked hard to preserve the Havasupai songs, way of life, and the Grand Canyon. He often appeared before the Arizona State Legislature as well as national committees on topics of great importance to the tribe and Indian Country.

Rex was born on August 15, 1947, the youngest of eight children and was the only boy in the family. Rex attended the Sedona Mission School, the Fort Apache Boarding School, and graduated high school from the Phoenix Indian School in 1967. He also attended Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. He then returned to Supai, Village to take care of his aging mother, following the death of his father. In Supai Canyon he would spend his days tending to the land, hunting, horseback riding, and sharing the stories and culture of the Havasupai people.

He was known to all as a peaceful and kind-hearted man, who had a deep love for everyone he met, with a warm and welcoming spirit and a respect for all people.

He was pre-deceased by his wife Rosella Sinyella Tilousi on May 29, 2020 as well as his parents and sisters. Rex and Rosella Tilousi had two daughters, Rochelle and Nettie Tilousi, and were blessed with four grandchildren.

Funeral Services:

Friday, June 25 from 7 p.m. – 5 a.m. Havasupai traditional wake will be held at the Tilousi residence in Supai, village on the Havasupai Reservation

Saturday, June 26 from 5 p.m. – 5 a.m. public funeral services will be held at Shrine of Ages, 20 South Entrance Road Grand Canyon Village, Arizona 86023

Sunday, June 27 Sunrise burial service will be at Grand Canyon Heritage Cemetery

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