The Ak-Chin Community lowered flags at its government buildings to half-staff out of respect for late Chairman Louis Manuel Jr.

The Ak-Chin Community paid tribute to the late Louis Manuel, a tribal leader who played a pivotal role in the Community’s growth and prosperity. He passed away Sunday.

The Ak-Chin Community grieves the sudden and unexpected passing of former Chairman Louis Manuel Jr. He was 57.

The Community has lowered flags out of respect for the former Chairman. Services and Community arrangements are pending.

Mr. Manuel served multiple terms on the Tribal Council, including as its chairman, and helped guide the Community through a period of rapid growth and economic diversification. His tenure included the expansion of Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino, construction of the UltraStar Multi-Tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle and other significant Community amenities.

“The Ak-Chin Indian Community has lost a great leader in Chairman Louis Manuel Jr. Words cannot express the pain and suffering the Community is enduring at this time,” said Ak-Chin Chairman Robert Miguel. “He not only was a great leader, but a great father, husband and friend. He loved his Community and always put his people first.

“Chairman Manuel’s legacy lives on, and the positive imprint he left on this Community is visible all around us in the form of progress and economic opportunity for Ak-Chin members.”

Mr. Manuel was a strong advocate for Indian education, elder services and access to quality social and health services for Tribal members. His voice was respected throughout all Arizona communities, tribal and non-tribal alike. In addition to his time on the Community Council, Mr. Manuel’s public service included stints as 1st vice president of the Inter-Tribal Association of Arizona and vice chairman of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association.

In addition, the City of Maricopa expressed condolences on social media: “Our heartfelt condolences go to the Ak-Chin Community and family of former Chairman Louis Manuel. We mourn your loss and thank him for his many years of leadership and commitment to our City.”

Maricopa Chamber of Commerce also shared its relationship with the former chairman: “It is with the great sadness that the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce mourns the loss of Louis Manuel Jr., former chairman of the Ak-Chin Indian Community Tribal Council. Chairman Manuel has been a longstanding member of the regional business community and a force behind economic development. Chairman Manuel was a longtime supporter of the City of Maricopa and instrumental in several co-operative efforts and decisions. A statesman in every way, Chairman Manuel forged relationships with both City Government as well as our neighboring Indian Communities, he enjoyed a strong working relationship with Mayor Price. Regionally, Chairman Manuel worked with the Arizona Indian Gaming Association as vice chairman and executive vice president at Quail Run Building Materials, in which the Ak-Chin Indian Community has controlling interest. The Maricopa Chamber of Commerce also offers our most sincere and deepest condolences to our Board alternate Dr. Yolanda Rodriguez, Louis’s wife, as well as Louis’s children as they remember him at this difficult time. Rest in Peace, Chairman Manuel.”