Washington, D.C. – March 01, 2021 – The National Indian Gaming Association joins the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin in mourning the passing of former Vice-Chairwoman and tribal historian Loretta Metoxen.
Metoxen passed away at home on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, surrounded by family. She was 88 years old.
National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. said, "Loretta was truly a pillar in our Community. She was not only a matriarch in Oneida but was a true Indian country Woman Warrior. She leaves a remarkable legacy for us all to follow. I had the honor of serving on the Oneida Trust Enrollment committee and the Oneida Nation Business Committee, along with Loretta. It was a great honor to serve with someone who had such knowledge and experience. She was a great mentor to me."
Loretta Metoxen was born on June 8, 1932, the daughter of the late Peter and Grace (Skenandore) Kurowski. Loretta was united in marriage to Floyd B. Metoxen in 1976, and they enjoyed their journey until Floyd preceded Loretta in death on February 23, 1999.
She worked tirelessly for the Oneida Nation in various capacities for over 50 years and most recently had worked as the Tribal Historian for 22 years. She also served on the Oneida Nation Business Committee (Tribal Council) for many years, where she served as Councilwoman, Treasurer and Vice-Chairwoman. At the time of her passing, Metoxen served on the Oneida Trust Enrollment Committee.
She was a strong proponent of tribal sovereign land rights and environmental protections across the country. Her service went beyond the Oneida Nation, where Metoxen served as the area Vice President for the Nation Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and was chairwoman for the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Education Committee.
Her regional platform included fighting for other surrounding tribes to help keep 14,000 acres of land from being taken from the Bad River and Red Cliff Ojibwe bands by the federal government to include the land in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Metoxen was also a strong proponent for the significance of economic diversification, pressing the importance of Oneida Nation's need to significantly expand its business operations beyond gaming, especially for the tribe's housing needs.
Metoxen proudly served our country as an airborne radar technician in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict. She actively served with the Wisconsin Indian Veterans Association - Oneida Chapter color guard over the years.
Loretta enjoyed traveling extensively, and her favorite destination was the Caribbean Islands. She also traveled nationally and internationally with family members. Loretta was an avid reader and had over 1,000 books in her personal library. She was an excellent cook and gardener and also enjoyed oil painting. Loretta enjoyed playing the slots every week. She always looked forward to eating and visiting at family dinners, picnics, and reunions.
Six children survive Loretta: Gail (Alfred) Danforth, Denice (Raymond) Beans, Melanie Ellis, Marshall Ellis, Keith Ellis, and Matthew (Mona) Ellis; grandchildren: Mirac (Margaret) Ellis and Yohnehtote Danforth; Olan Beans, Julie (Warren "Bucko" Rieter III) Beans, Maurense Beans; Mandi Beans, and Grace Beans; Peter Ellis, and Cheryl Aliskwet Ellis; Christine Ellis, Ruger Ellis, and Charlene Ellis; great-grandchildren: MarjaRia Stevens, and Markane, Mason, and Maria Grace Ellis; Dakota Sipary, Warren Rieter IV, Evelyn Rieter, and Addison Meyer; siblings: Shirley Hill, Patricia (Merlin) Cornelius, Gerald "Jerry" (Gloria Jean) Kurowski, and Linda (Glen) Mercier; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by two children: Mary Ellis and Julie Ellis; one granddaughter, Little Grace Elijah; one brother, Kenneth Kurowski; and one brother-in-law, Fritz Hill.
Loretta was laid to rest on Saturday, February 27, 2021, with full military honors.