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SOUTH SIOUX CITY -- Native American activist Frank LaMere died Sunday night, his family said in a post on Facebook.

LaMere, 69, had recently undergone surgery for bile duct cancer.

Frank LaMere

LaMere

"Our father Frank LaMere crossed over the the other side of this river of Life," his son Manape LaMere wrote.

LaMere, a member of the Winnebago Tribe, was well-known for voicing concerns related to Native Americans.

In April 2019, LaMere was one of the community members to discuss the struggles of alcoholism and homelessness at what will become Hope Street of Siouxland, a 10-bed sober living house located at 406 12th St., at the former St. Thomas Episcopal Church Parish Hall. 

Drug and alcohol addiction in Siouxland has "never been worse than it is now," he said at the time.

LaMere was also instrumental during the annual Memorial March to Honor Lost Children, in which people would walk across the Siouxland Veterans Memorial Bridge between South Sioux City and Sioux City as a way to remember Native children who have died or been lost in foster care in Siouxland. 

However, LaMere's impact was felt far beyond Siouxland. 

He recently voiced concerns about the interaction between Omaha police officers and a mentally ill Native American man from Oklahoma on June 2017.

The Sioux City Journal examines homelessness in Siouxland in this five-day series. Topics include the impact of homelessness in downtown, ment…

Zachary BearHeels, 29, died after police punched and repeatedly shocked him with a Taser. A coroner determined that BearHeels died of "sudden death associated with excited delirium, physical struggle, physical restraint and use of a (Taser)."

After one Omaha police officer was found not guilty of assault by a jury and the Douglas County Attorney's Office dropped charges against another, LaMere called on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate BearHeel's death.

"People should ask. 'Good God, what are they doing in Omaha, Nebraska," he said.

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2000 Democratic National Convention
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Capitol activism
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Frank LaMere 2002
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2005 picket
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2006 campaign stop

For more than 20 years, LaMere had called for banning the beer stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska. The stores were blamed for fueling the alcoholism on the adjacent and officially dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. 

LaMere and other activists were successful in stopping sales in April 2017. 

He was also involved in national politics, having served on the Democratic National Committee from 1996 through 2009, while serving as a delegate for multiple Democratic National Conventions.

THE REGULARS: Frank LaMere reflects on victory in long Whiteclay battle

LaMere passed on this love of political activism to his daughter Lexie Wakan LaMere, who did not miss a Democratic National Convention before she died at age 21 following a battle with leukemia on Jan. 3, 2014.

Funeral services for LaMere are pending.

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