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Tribal leader, environmental champion Norm Harry dies at 65


Three-term chair of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Norm Harry died this week. He was 65.

Harry was an advocate for tribal water rights, and he was instrumental in getting the Truckee River Operating Agreement signed. That agreement designated much of the Truckee River waters to the tribe and settled claims among multiple parties for water rights.

Harry was a champion of the land, water and Indigenous people. 

“Known for his expertise in environmental and water issues, and as a traditional knowledge holder, he was recognized as a national leader in the environmental justice movement, mentoring countless organizers fortunate enough to learn from him,” his obituary states. “He worked tirelessly with Indigenous and rural communities in the defense of their precious water and environmental resources.”

Norm Harry participates in a coyote hunt protest in January 2018. Image: Ty O'Neil
Norm Harry participates in a coyote hunt protest in January 2018. Image: Ty O’Neil

His fight for environmental issues did not go away after TROA was signed, however. He was covered in This Is Reno over the years for his participation in a number of causes.

In 2019 he was part of the World Water Day film screening at the University of Nevada. Most recently, he expressed concern about the Truckee Meadows lands bill in February.

Harry was born in 1954 and was raised on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation.

“His heart was nothing but love,” a relative posted on Facebook. “He was everyone’s friend since the day he was born.”

Harry’s daughter Autumn paid tribute to him on Facebook.

“We can’t thank [the] creator enough for placing him on this earth to be our protector and knowledge-keeper. We’re incredibly thankful for his life teachings, his dedication to the protection of water and fisheries,” she wrote. “The past few months in quarantine have turned into the most precious moments spent with e na’a. Every day we laughed, fished, tended to our garden, and talked about the preservation of our homelands. I will continue to remember all these moments and carry his teachings forward the best way I can.”

A virtual service for Harry is being held Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020 from 4 to 5 p.m. The link: https://planevada.zoom.us/j/93943000406. Passcode: 785421.

Flowers and cards may be sent to the Walton’s Ross, Burke & Knobel, 2155 Kietzke Lane, Reno, NV 89502 or to the family residence at PO Box 76, Nixon, NV 89424.

Harry is survived by his wife, Beverly, son Jared, daughter Autumn, mother Charlotte, sisters Debra and Carolyn, brother Ed, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. 

Correction: This article previously reported Harry died of cancer. The cause has not been revealed.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.