Laura Spurr spoke at the Youth Leadership Conference that was part of the Potawatomi Gathering held last summer at the Prairie Band Casino & Resort. In the background is Steve Ortiz, PBPN tribal chairman.
February 24, 2010 –
MAYETTA: The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation has learned that Laura Spurr, 64, who was the tribal chairwoman of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, died February 19 of a heart attack suffered on February 18 shortly after giving a presentation at a conference at the Pechanga Casino in California.
“The Tribal Council of the PBPN would like to express their condolences to Laura’s family and members of the Huron Band,” said Steve Ortiz, Tribal Council Chairperson. “Laura’s leadership and friendship particularly during the Potawatomi Gatherings will be missed.”
In addition, Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Council Secretary Jim Potter said that he had known Laura for many years and that he considered her a good friend. “She was active in Native American affairs and the types of development that the Nottawaseppi Huron Band had accomplished in such a short time was truly amazing and due in big part to Laura’s efforts.”
Laura had served on the Tribal Council for approximately 11 years and had been an officer several times. She was also active in the tribe’s education, health, EPA, and elder programs. Last year, she was honored as one of two “Tribal Leaders of the Year” by the Native American Finance Officers Association for her efforts in developing the FireKeepers Casino. The presentation that she had given on February 18, before she collapsed, was about the construction and design of the casino that is located near Battle Creek, Michigan.
Survivors include her husband Stephen, two sons Nathaniel and Josiah, her mother Irene Wesley, and a sister Mary Wesley. Laura will lie in state at 5 p.m. on Friday at Spencer Family Funeral Home in Athens, Mich. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 27, 1:30 p.m. at the Athens Middle School, 515 East Williams Street in Athens, Mich.
The Nottawaseppi Huron Band is located in Fulton, Michigan and is one of nine bands of Potawatomi. Other Nations are the Prairie Band Potawatomi, Hannahville Indian Community, Forest County Potawatomi, Gun Lake Band, Walpole Island, Wasauksing First Nation, Citizen Band Potawatomi and Pokagon Band.