Former National Urban Indian Leader, Jess Sixkiller, Killed by Home Invader in Phoenix

Jess Sixkiller was first American Indian Chicago Police Department detective - First director of National Urban Indian Organization

Jess Sixkiller was first American Indian Chicago Police Department detective – First director of National Urban Indian Organization. Photo Courtesy of Sixkiller family.

Published September 26, 2015

PHOENIX—Long-time American Indian advocate Jess Sixkiller, a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, was slain in a home invasion in Phoenix in the early hours of Friday morning, September 25, 2015. Mr. Sixkiller was 78.

His wife called 911 around 3:15 a.m. Friday to report she heard noises inside the home she shared with her husband. After arrival at the home, police removed Mrs. Sixkiller from the residence and re-entered the home to perform a sweep and then discovered the body of Sixkller, who had been shot to death.

National Leadership

By he was 30-years-old, Sixkiller was the first American Indian to become a detective for the Chicago Police Department.

Jess Sixkiller in 1968

Jess Sixkiller in 1968

Soon thereafter, he gained national recognition within the National Congress of American Indians. He was an urban representative to NCAI’s annual conference in 1968 from the Chicago American Indian Center in Seattle. At that conference, Sixkiller was elected to chair a twelve-person committee called the National Urban Indian Consultation, which was charged with studying the issues impacting urban American Indians, living away from reservations.

The committee progressed rapidly and received an $88,500 grant from the Ford Foundation and formed the National Urban Indian Organization. Sixkiller became the organization’s first director.

Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, recalled Sixkiller on Friday night in a telephone call with Native News Online.

“Jess Sixkiller was a sincere man who wanted to help the movement. He called me and Russ (Russell Means) in 1974 and asked how he could help. Even though he was an ex-cop, we never felt threatened by him. We never thought he was trying to infiltrate AIM like others had done,” Banks said to Native News Online.

Police Need Help

Phoenix Police Homicide detectives have very little to go on in this investigation and they are asking anyone who may have seen or heard anything, or who may have information about this homicide to call Silent Witness at (480) WIT-NESS. As always, any caller may remain anonymous.

A memorial fund has been set up in Sixkiller’s name. Donations can be made to:

Wells Fargo Bank
Jess Sixkiller Memorial
Account #2457886071

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