The National Indian Gaming Association has issued a statement in response to the passing away of NIGA Chairman Emeritus and member of the Oneida Nation Rick Hill last week.

In the missive, association Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr described Hill as “…a great friend and brother”, adding that he was a “…coach, mentor, and one of the finest tribal leaders of our time”.

As a key figure in the Oneida Nation, Hill was known even during his early years as a very young community advocate serving on the tribal council, coaching, mentoring, and helping young people and families. 

Stevens commented: “His passing is a tremendous loss for our Indian gaming family and all of Indian country. Rick, along with other tribal gaming visionaries, paved a bright path for many generations to come. The success of Tribal Government Gaming is due in great part to his leadership, passion, and tireless dedication to serving Indian country.”

He added: “Rick excelled in just about every sport, from lacrosse to basketball and baseball. He was also on the crew team [rowing] at the University of Wisconsin. However, football was his favorite sport. One of his favorite accomplishments was fighting his way to the semi-finals in the local tough man contest where he received a bronze medal.

“He taught us many of life’s lessons, he fed, trained and coached us. He gave every resource he had when there were few resources available in our community. He encouraged us to use our commitment to sports and transfer that energy to the responsibilities of life.” 

Services for Hill include visitations on Wednesday, December 18, at the Ryan Funeral Home & Crematory at De Pere, Wisconsin, from 3pm to 6pm. Traditional Longhouse services will be held from 9pm on December 18 until time of service on Thursday, December 19 at 7am at the Oneida Nation Longhouse, followed by a graveside service at the St Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Oneida at 9.30am.


The full report paying tribute to Rick Hill can be viewed here