Prominent North Dakota lawyer, former chief judge for reservations, falls into Minnesota Lake and dies

William Delmore, a longtime North Dakota attorney and former chief judge of the Standing Rock Reservation, has died after falling into a lake in northern Minnesota while fishing.

Delmore, 75, was with his son at the Starlight Bay Resort on Eighth Crow Wing Lake in Nevis Township late in the afternoon of May 30 when he fell into the water, the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office said.

Shane Delmore said he and his father had been fishing on the dock, the Sheriff’s Office said. He left for a moment and then returned to the dock to find his father face down in the water.

Emergency medical services attempted to revive Delmore but ultimately pronounced him dead at the scene, the Sheriff’s Office said.

According to his online obituary, Delmore’s legal achievements include helping to found Turtle Mountain State Bank, the first privately owned Native American bank on tribal lands.

In addition to his time as chief judge of the Standing Rock Reservation, Delmore served as an assistant district attorney for the North Dakota Environmental Protection Agency, a Bismarck City commissioner and a Burleigh County commissioner. He also ran his own private law firm.

Born Oct. 22, 1948, in Yankton, SD, Delmore spent his earliest years on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where he reconnected with his Sioux heritage later in life, the obituary said.

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