Dear IITC Family.
I have the very sad duty to inform you of the passing this evening of Mariano Ochoa Millan, IITC Board member and respected Yaqui leader from Torim Pueblo, Rio Yaqui, Sonora, Mexico due to the effects of COVID-19. He has been hospitalized in Cuidad Obregon for about two weeks, and although at times he was improving, at the end his body gave in to the illness. He struggled and suffered a lot from this terrible illness and we are happy for him that he is free and well now, although his passing leaves a big hole in our work and our lives.
Mariano was kind, courageous, dignified, and completely dedicated to the cause of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. He was a very important member of the Yaqui Maaso Kova committee for the repatriation of our sacred deer head, and I am very glad that he lived to know it will be coming home from Sweden.
Many of you know him well and I tried to reach you by phone tonight so you could hear this news from me directly, rather than via email. I am sorry I could not reach some of you and you have to hear it this way. Mariano’s spirit and example of humble and selfless dedication to our Yaqui Nation, to IITC, and to the work we are committed to will continue to guide and inspire us. We send our condolences to his wife, daughter, and all of his family and community, and will do what we can to help them at this very hard time.
My thoughts and prayers are with them, and with all of us, as we cope with this huge loss.
I have enclosed a recent IITC press release in which he is quoted, to recall in a small way, his many contributions to our work and organization.
International Indian Treaty Council