patteaClinton M. Pattea, president of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, died early Friday, July 5, 2013. He was 81.

For more than 25 years, Dr. Pattea led the tribe and served as a national figurehead for tribal sovereignty. The tribe owns and operates the successful Fort McDowell Casino in Fountain Hills.

“President Clinton Pattea was a leader in every sense of the word,” Northern Arizona University President John Haeger. “We are honored to have worked with President Pattea over the last 10 years in his role as a member of the NAU Tribal Advisory Board. We join with his family, friends, and all those who were privileged to know him in mourning his passing.”

Dr. Pattea received an honorary doctorate from NAU in 1999. He was responsible for helping to establish the Wassaja Scholarship for Native American students, and in part his leadership influenced the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation tribal council to support the construction of the NAU Native American Cultural Center. A conference room inside the center is named in his honor.

He graduated from NAU in 1959 with a degree in finance and business administration.

President Pattea chaired the Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs for 16 years. In 2009, the National Indian Gaming Association gave Pattea the Wendell Chino Humanitarian Award for service to Indian country.