Friday, June 03, 2005

Julian Fite, Attorney for the Cherokee Nation, Dies at 60

Source: Native American Times by Sam Lewin

The lead attorney for the Cherokee Nation has died.

Julian Fite collapsed Thursday morning while attending the Sovereignty Symposium in Oklahoma City. He was transported to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead an hour later. He was 60-years-old.

Fite had a long resume: He was executive director of the Northeastern State University Center for Tribal Studies, a former U.S. attorney and a former Muskogee County district attorney.

He was born in Muskogee, the Fite family home since his ancestors came to Oklahoma in the 1800s. According to his NSU biography, Fite was married, had two adult daughters and lived in Tahlequah. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1970 and for several years served in the U. S. Army Military Intelligence Branch.

“Julian Fite was a rare individual who was always cheerful and positive, a practical philosopher that always strove for what was good for the people,” stated Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith. “He was an accomplished lawyer and a dedicated servant and patriot of the Cherokee Nation, the State of Oklahoma, and the United States. He was one of the few truly wise men I have ever met. He reminded me of Will Rogers, another Cherokee who was a common man with uncommon wisdom.”

“On behalf of the NSU faculty and staff, I extend condolences to the family of Dr. Julian Fite,” said Northeastern State University (NSU) President Dr. Larry Williams. “As a professor, Julian was beloved by his students, and possessed outstanding ability in the classroom. He was a valued member of the NSU community, and we appreciated his work as legal counsel to the university. Julian served as an example to those who knew him, demonstrating that determination is the greater part of valor. He was a loyal and trusted friend, and he will be greatly missed.”

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