Karuk leader Amos Merrill Tripp, the first director of United Indian Health Services, has died. He was 70.
Tripp's memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Monday at Redwood Acres in Eureka with internment to follow at Oceanview Cemetery.
The family invites everyone to a reception at Redwood Acres following the services.
In addition to being the initial UIHS director, Tripp worked for over 25 years as the UIHS program attorney. Instrumental in the building of the Potawot Health Village, he provided guidance honoring both traditional and legal values. He was on the Humboldt Area Foundation Board of Directors for 10 years and helped create the Native Cultures Fund.
A prominent figure in Native American legal affairs, Tripp -- a graduate of UC Davis' law school -- worked on fishing rights cases with the California Indian Legal Services and the Eagle Child defending and protecting Indian families through the Indian Child Welfare act.
Tripp also had an impact in the classroom, teaching Federal Indian law and water law classes at Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods.
Tripp, who grew up in Klamath, was a graduate of Del Norte High, Humboldt State University and UC Davis. He obtained his Juris Doctorate degree from Davis in 1975 and became a partner in the first Native American law firm in California from 1976 to 1979. Tripp then went into private practice for many years.
Tripp's affinity for his culture began in his childhood. He would travel around the state with his mother Violet Tripp and others attending inter-tribal council meetings and participating in the development of many programs that still exist and serve Native Americans today.
In the early 1970s, Tripp and his family worked closely with Karuk elders Charlie Thom, Shan Davis, Frances Davis, and Fred and Elizabeth Case to restore the brushdance at Katamiin. He later became the dance leader for the Karuk Brushdance Camp and this is the role that became his life's work.
Being a busy member of the Karuk Tribal Council and devoted family man occupied Tripp's later life.
Whether having all the girls over for Sunday dinners or attending sporting events to cheer on his granddaughters and great-nephews, he never missed the chance to support those he loved.
Tripp was known to spend four to five nights out of the week at the gym, cheering on the kids during basketball season.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Maria "Perky" Tripp and his daughter Pimm and her husband Alme Allen and their daughters Ty'ithreeha and Ahtyirahm, and his daughter Kapoon Tripp and Willy Lamebear and their daughters Wateekwashaun and Karamachay.
Tripp is also survived by his older brother Leroy Tripp and Sue, his younger brothers Brian "BDT" Tripp, David Tripp and Jan, and Phillip Tripp and Rose; his sister Helen and Pat Suri and his cousin Mike McGarity; his sisters-in-law Linda "Chub" Hoffman, Sandry Lowry and Candy Gibson. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews who loved spending time with him and were very close to their Uncle Amos. In addition, he is survived by everyone in his spiritual family and the entire dance community whom he considered family.
He was proceeded in death by his parents Amos and Violet Tripp, his father-in-law and mother-in-law Walt and Evelina Hoffman, his brother-in-law Walter "Skippy" Hoffman, his nephew Scott Gibson, his close uncle Leland "Junie" Donahue and his close cousin Wilma "Bucky" Mata.