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Reps. Napolitano, Negrete McLeod Mourn Loss of Helen Doherty

April 12, 2013
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) Today, Representatives Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32) and Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA-35) released the following statements on the recent passing of community leader and activist, Ms. Helen L. Doherty:

“Helen was a driving force in gaining recognition for the Gabrieleno tribe, and her efforts will not soon be forgotten,” Napolitano said. “The labor and Native American communities have lost a dear friend and will be deeply affected by her passing.”

“The Native American community in California has lost an unparalleled leader who was constantly engaged in the defense of their heritage and quality of life,” said Negrete McLeod. “Helen was also an educator and a good friend of mine for many years. Throughout my legislative career, Helen’s counsel and wisdom have been invaluable to me. She will be greatly missed.”

Helen will be remembered for being a powerful advocate for the Native American community in California. She would often assist with workshops on tribal lands to help Native Americans develop skills to improve their quality of life. Helen also worked to ensure that California's textbooks reflect the true history of native people, among other examples of her work with the Native American community.

Helen’s advocacy for children of all ages gained the support of many teachers, students and parents. Her work with after-school programs was instrumental in helping students academically over the many years she taught high school.