Shinnecock Nation Mourns the Passing of Avery ‘Chief Eagle Eye’ Dennis Sr.

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown September 15th, 2015 Last Updated on: September 15th, 2015


Sad news from the Shinnecock Nation: Avery “Chief Eagle Eye” Dennis Sr., passed away on Saturday, September 5th. The Shinnecock Nation was in the midst of their big Labor Day Pow Wow when folks heard the news.

The Southampton Press
had a wonderful obituary published in their paper for Chief Eagle Eye. Below is an excerpt from the paper.

Avery “Chief Eagle Eye” Dennis Sr., one of the longest serving elected leaders of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, died on Saturday, September 5, surrounded by his family. He was 86.

A lifelong resident of the Shinnecock Indian Reservation, Mr. Dennis sat as a tribal trustee for 19 years upon his return from service in the U.S. Air Corps during World War II. He was also employed for 26 years with the U.S. Postal Service.

Born on April 4, 1929, the son of William Penn and Pauline Dennis, he grew up on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation and attended the Shinnecock one-room schoolhouse.

Later, while in his 50s, he completed his high school education, received a diploma, and went on to study and pursue a career as a substance abuse counselor. More than 60 years ago he introduced a sobriety recovery program on the Shinnecock Reservation that still thrives today. His love of planes prompted him to enlist and serve his country honorably in the Air Corps during World War II, earning the rank of sergeant. After being honorably discharged, he returned home to his beloved Shinnecock Nation and gained employment with the U.S. Postal Service, retiring after 20 years.

In 1949, he married his longtime love, Dorothy Smith. Together they created a lifetime of memories.

During his many years as a tribal trustee, he advocated for land rights, federal recognition and protecting the Shinnecock Nation’s sovereignty. He was an Elder of the Shinnecock Presbyterian Church and an active member of the Shinnecock community. He enjoyed attending and participating in civic, Native American events and powwows. He spent his time boating or working on his boat, Chief Eagle Eye, fishing, swimming and traveling the States with his wife. To his close friends he was also known as “Hammer!” and he could be described as a stern but kindhearted man, survivors said, adding that he loved and was committed to his family, his Nation and his faith in a higher power.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to family, friends and the Shinnecock Nation.

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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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Running Doe

prayer go up for his family, blessings

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