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  • Writer's pictureArizona House Democrats

Indigenous Peoples Caucus Mourn Loss of Former Legislator Jack Jackson Sr.


March 7, 2023

PHOENIX – The Indigenous Peoples Caucus today offered its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of former Representative and Senator Jack Jackson Sr., who passed on Sunday at the age of 89.

Jackson was born in Leupp, Arizona on the Navajo Nation and resided in Teetso. Jackson served nearly two decades in the Legislature before retiring in 2004. In his last Senate term, he served with his son, then Representative Jack Jackson Jr., becoming the first father and son to serve together in the Arizona Legislature. Prior to his legislative service, Jackson also served on the Navajo Nation Council from 1980 to 1984.

IPC Chairwoman Mae Peshlakai, and members Representatives Myron Tsosie, Senator Sally Ann Gonzalez and Senator Theresa Hatathlie shared their deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Senator Jackson.

On behalf of former Senator Jack Jackson Jr. and the family, the IPC is sharing the following family history and statement:

In Remembrance of Jack Chee Jackson, Sr.

On March 5, 2023, Dr. Jack C. Jackson, Sr. began his journey to the spirit world. He is Diné born of the Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House) Clan, born for the Áshįįhí (Salt People) Clan. His maternal grandfather is from the Táchii’nii (Red Running into Water) Clan, and his paternal grandfather is from the Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water People) Clan.

Born in 1932 in Leupp, Arizona on the Navajo Nation, Dr. Jack C. Jackson and his identical twin brother, Dr. Dean C. Jackson, were educated at the Chilocco Indian Vocational High School in Chilocco, OK. After matriculating from high school, Dr. Jackson went on to receive his Bachelor of Science and master's degrees in Secondary Education from Northern Arizona University. He was bestowed an honorary doctorate degree from Bacone College in Muskogee, OK in 2019 for his tireless career as an educator.

Dr. Jackson started his teaching career in 1957 at Window Rock High School as a Social Studies, Health, and Physical Education instructor. At Diné College, formerly Navajo Community College, he was Athletic Director, Director of Student Affairs, and head basketball coach. Eventually, Dr. Jackson became the Director of the Office of Diné Education Philosophy which ensured the uniqueness of the college was carried out with Western and Diné knowledge.

Dr. Jackson believed the education of Navajo children was a vital means to make certain the Diné were prosperous, but he also realized there was another avenue to help the citizens of the Navajo Nation and so began his political career.

He served as a member of the Navajo Nation Council representing the Fort Defiance Agency from 1980 to 1984.

After consulting with his wife, fellow educator Eloise A. Jackson, he successfully ran for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives where he served for 14 years before transitioning to the Senate chamber where he served for an additional 5 ½. In his final term as Senator, he proudly served alongside his son, Representative Jack C. Jackson, Jr.

Senator Jackson had many accomplishments in the Arizona legislature. He was instrumental in passing the bill establishing the Arizona Indian Legislative Day that occurs at the beginning of every session of the Legislature and is ongoing to this day. Indian Legislative Day affords a unique opportunity for all of Arizona’s 22 tribal governments to make their voices and concerns heard at the Capitol.

Senator Jackson was most proud of his bill ensuring Transaction Privilege Tax funds were allotted to tribal educational institutions in addition to the counties, towns and municipalities that had received these monies for years. The passage of the TPT bill in 1999 provided 17.5 million dollars in funding for Diné College over ten years. This Compact has been renewed for two more ten-year periods. It has heralded his commitment to education and is his greatest legislative legacy.

Jack Jackson was more than an educator and political leader, however. While he and his brother Dean were at boarding school in Oklahoma, they were exposed to their first rodeo experience. At that time, there wasn’t any organized rodeo circuit for Native Americans. When they returned to the Navajo Nation after graduation, they founded the All-Indian Rodeo Cowboy Association which helped the burgeoning Native rodeo circuit. They also competed in calf and team roping events. Today, many Native rodeo competitors have the Jackson twins to thank for their successful careers.

Jack and Dean were also accomplished athletes on the basketball court which naturally progressed into coaching. Jack saw education and coaching as equally valuable ways to nurture young minds and bodies.

Dr. Jack Jackson was Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Health Authority in the Office of Student Affairs and Native Healing Sciences. This led to him pursuing more study to become a Medicine Man. After many years, Jack was ordained in the Female Windway Ceremony and the Bowguard Ceremony. He was one of the Founders of the Navajo Traditional Healing Services Practitioners and Medicine Men Association. He also served as President of the Native American Church of Navajoland from 1971 to 1975.

Jack will be interred on Thursday, March 9th next to his twin brother Dr. Dean C. Jackson at their family homestead in Teesto, AZ. He was also preceded in death by his daughter Janice A. Jackson and his wife Eloise A. Jackson.

He is survived by his children Ronald Jackson, Jack C. Jackson, Jr., and Dr. Florinda J. Jackson. He has five grandchildren: Rudy Ray Arviso, Amelia Grace Hubbell, Patrick Dean Hubbell, Kelly Marie Hubbell-Hinton, Reuben Jack Hubbell and five great-grandchildren.


Dr. Jack C. Jackson’s family honors their patriarch’s legacy as a spiritual leader, Medicine Man, educator, legislator, rodeo cowboy, rancher, athlete and coach, and a fierce defender of preserving and prolonging Diné traditions, culture and language so future Navajo generations will continue to prosper and thrive. He will be greatly missed and is deeply loved.


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