Niles Cesar, Tlingit and Haida Indian from Juneau, who was an integral piece in Indian health care in Alaska, walked on recently at his home in Anchorage, surrounded by his family and friends after a long illness according to JuneauEmpire.com.
Cesar spent 20 years in the Medical Service Corps, including a year in Vietnam, before retiring from the Navy as a Lieutenant according to the Alaskapublic.com. He went on to receive his B.S. degree in environmental health.
He spent 11 years (1979 to 1990) as the executive vice president of Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, before leaving to spend the next 19 years as the director for the Alaska Bureau of Indian Affairs according to Alaskapublic.com.
Through his time at the BIA, he worked to gain the most out of the services and benefits available to Alaska Natives, reported JuneauEmpire.com. He established the BIA Providers Conference and was an advocacy member on the Federal Subsistence Board in Alaska.
“Almost half the federally recognized tribes in the United States are in Alaska and Niles made great, great strides in helping them to contract out these government services,” said Charles Bunch, a colleague at BIA in talking about Niles’ efforts with after the Native American Self Determination and Educational Assistance act that opened the door for self-determination, according to Alaskapublic.com. “I think that the Natives of Alaska have lost a champion as one of the members of the Federal Subsistence Board I think Niles worked hard to ensure that way of life was continued in Alaska.”
Niles was preceded in death by his parents, Santiago and Mary, sisters Amelia and Marilyn, brother Michael and grand-nephew D.J. according to JuneauEmpire.com.
He is survived by his wife, Florence Carroll; daughters Jennifer Cesar (Padraig) and Amelia Kendrick (Ben); stepchildren Carrie McMillan (Paul), Kyle McMillan, Jennifer Waters (Tom); brothers Kermit (Andrea), Del (Marlene) and Kenneth (Jackie); brother-in-laws Ted Wieting and Ray McClure; grandsons Joshua Thorene and Benjamin Niles Kendrick; grand-daughter Madison Kendrick; great grand-daughter Jamie Thorene.