Arizona tribes were saddened this weekend as news came that Arthur J. Hubbard Sr., walked on February 7 at 102 years old. Hubbard was a Navajo Code Talker and the first American Indian elected to the Arizona State Senate.
“The Navajo Nation mourns the loss of a living treasure, an American hero and a role model for young kids across the Nation,” read a Navajo Nation statement following the news.
Arthur was born in Topawa, on the Nation, in January 1912. He was raised a Christian with Navajo and O’odham traditions, making him uniquely suited to bridge the Native and Non-Native communities according to a Tohono O’odham release.
The decorated military veteran voluntarily served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II from 1939 to 1945. While serving in WWII, Hubbard trained over 200 men in the famed unit that played a critical role in the Allied victory according to the O’odham release. In 2000, Hubbard received the Navajo Code Talker Congressional Silver Medal.
“The Navajo Code Talkers are living treasures of the Navajo Nation. With the passing of Arthur Hubbard, Sr., we have lost a true American hero. The Nation offers our heartfelt condolences to the family during this time,” Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said.
Hubbard returned to Arizona following his military duty where he was appointed as Director of Indian Development District of Arizona by then Gov. Jack Williams according to O’odham release. Then in 1972, he made history by becoming the first American Indian elected to the Arizona State Senate, where he served 12 years.
“The Tohono O’odham Nation was saddened to learn of the passing of Arthur Hubbard Sr., the first American Indian elected to the Arizona State Senate, a decorated veteran of World War II, and a powerful advocate for Arizona tribes,” the O’odham release stated.
Shelly also noted that Hubbard was witness to the growth of the Navajo Nation over the past century, as well as a direct witness to the strength and power of the Navajo language firsthand.
“Dine’ bizaad (the Navajo language) saved the world from tyranny and oppression. It is our language that will carry us forward into the next century and beyond,” President Shelly said. “We thank Arthur J. Hubbard Sr. for his faithful military service and all other Code Talkers that protected our sovereignty and way of life.”
Hubbard continued his call to service throughout his life by remaining active in veterans’ issues and served as an adviser and board member for both the Navajo and O’odham late into his life, according to the O’odham release.
“On Behalf of the Nation, we offer our deepest condolences to Arthur’s family and friends during this difficult time, while commemorating his pioneering legacy of courage, service and honor,” the O’odham release states.
Shelly has stated the Navajo Nation will fly flags across the Nation at half-staff through sunset February 14 in honor and respect of Hubbard’s passing.
Funeral services are today at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church, 25150 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, Arizona with viewing at 9 a.m. Service at 10:30 a.m. Internment will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 North Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, Arizona with burial at 1 p.m. and reception at 2 p.m. at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church.