NIGA Mourns the Loss of Grand Portage Tribal Chairman Norman Deschampe
Washington, D.C. – February 20, 2019 – The National Indian Gaming Association joins the rest of Indian Country in mourning the loss of Grand Portage Tribal Chairman Norman Deschampe.
According to Chairman Deschampe’s obituary, he walked on to the Spirit world on February 9th at his home of a heart attack, just a few weeks short of his 66th birthday.
Norman Deschampe was first elected to the Grand Portage Tribal Council at the age of 23 and went on to serve more than 40 years in tribal leadership — including 27 years as chairman.
National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. said, “We are saddened to hear about the passing of Norman Deschampe. His life-long leadership and dedication to the Grand Portage community and all of Indian Country will never be forgotten. He lived his life devoted to the people in his tribal community. Chairman Deschampe was a personal mentor and role model to me and so many others. He was one of the finest leaders of our time.”
Deschampe, also fondly known as “Baby boy”, was born and raised on the Grand Portage Reservation, who loved his home and was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, and leader.
After attending Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota and the University of Minnesota-Duluth, in Duluth, Minnesota, Norman returned to Grand Portage, where he was elected to the Grand Portage Tribal Council, which began his lifetime legacy as a tribal leader, serving as tribal chairman for a majority of his career. His total tenure included serving on the tribal council for 45 years, 27 of those years as the tribe’s chairman. He also served as the President of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and on the board of many other organization.
Norman was a devoted family man. He had an immense knowledge of the outdoors and was extremely generous in passing along his knowledge. Deschamps loved to take his grandchildren fishing. He took great pride in teaching his children and grandchildren how to hunt, fish, trap, and anything else that could be done outdoors. He loved to share stories of Grand Portage and his family. Rarely would you talk to Norman without hearing a joke or a story that would make you laugh.
He is survived by his wife Debbie, four daughters Carrie (Rodney) Wilson, Anna, Tina, and Sarah Deschampe (Erik Redix), Grandchildren Emilee, Owen, Jaden, Biidaash, Paxton, Grayson, and Aanakwad. Siblings Mary Ann Gagnon, Larry “Fish” Deschampe (Janis), Rosie (Rick) Novitsky, Allen (Diane) Deschampe, Sally Deschampe, and Marlene Deschampe; many nieces and nephews and all those who shared in his life.
Norman was preceded in death by his parents Norman Sr. and Irene (Hendrickson), and two infant brothers.