Indianz.Com > News > Native man struck and killed during RES tribal economic development conference
Geewadin Elliott
Geewadin Elliott is seen in a photo shared on social media by family following his passing on April 4, 2023. Family photo
Native man struck and killed during RES tribal economic development conference
Wednesday, April 5, 2023

A Native man attending the Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, was struck and killed by a driver accused of being under the influence.

The incident occurred early Tuesday morning, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said in a press release. A Native man from Canada — identified by family and friends as Geewadin Elliott — was struck and killed while crossing a major boulevard commonly known as the Strip.

Elliott was from the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation in Neyaashiinigmiing, Ontario. Loved ones remembered him as a devoted husband and father who loved attending powwows, which were a family tradition.

“You came into the world dancing, now you dance home,” a relative wrote on social media on Wednesday.

“He could do what ever he put his mind to and he did it,” a friend said.

“Pray for our community of Neyaashiinigmiing,” another relative posted.

Police identified the driver as Brandon Kelekolio, 32. He failed field sobriety tests and was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center, the press release stated.

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development opened RES on Monday. The event is taking place at Caesars Palace, one of the casino properties on the Strip.

According to police, Elliott was crossing the Strip in front of Caesars Palace at the time of the incident at around 2:17am on Tuesday. One of the overflow hotels for RES — the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino — is located across the street on Las Vegas Boulevard.

As he was crossing Las Vegas Boulevard, police said Elliott was struck on by the left front of Kelekolio’s car, identified by the press release as a Chevrolet Trail Blazer.

“Arriving medical personnel determined the pedestrian sustained mortal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the collision scene,” the police said, adding that the incident marked the 30th traffic-related fatality in Las Vegas since the start of 2023.

Elliott had been crossing against a “do not walk pedestrian signal” on the Strip, police said. Kelekolio remained on the scene and showed “signs of impairment,” the press release stated.

A sacred fire for Elliott was lit on Tuesday evening in Neyaashiinigmiing, according to his family. Arrangements are being made as he returns to his community.

“Please put your semaa down tonight as we mourn the passing of Geewadin Elliott,” a family member said on social media, using an Ojibwe word for tobacco.

Elliott, a graduate of Michigan State University, recently started serving as the Senior Manager for Tribal Relations and Business Development in the United States on behalf of Aecon, a construction and infrastructure development firm based in Canada. One of his twin sons said he dedicated his life to boosting economic development throughout Turtle Island.

“He always loved travelling around indian country meeting new faces. turning strangers into friends,” Neebeesh Elliott said on social media on Wednesday. Like their father before them, Neebeesh and his twin brother are attending MSU.

“Had an ultimate goal of uniting indian country, making us a sovereign nation, trading with one another, helping each other out,” Elliott’s son wrote.

Elliott previously served as the Indigenous Relations Manager in Eastern Canada for Aecon. He was featured in a video posted on National Indigenous Peoples Day last June.

A community gathering is expected to be held in Neyaashiinigmiing on Thursday. The family has asked for donations of food and other items.

RES concludes on Thursday.