On the passing of our dear warrior brother, father, uncle, leader, teacher, mentor, friend, and …
Ali Saleh El-Issa (1952-2022) passed to the spirit world early on the morning of September 27th, 2022, at home after a brief illness. Ali is survived by his loving son, Maehkikaysic Adnan El-Issa, and is predeceased in life by his loving partner and wife, Ingrid Washinawatok (1957-1999). He is also survived by family in Palestine, Lebanon, and the U.S., including his sisters Ensaf El-Issa and Huda El-Issa, and brother Phillip El-Issa, and Ghada El-Issa and brother-in-law Tarek Abdelfattah, who are an intimate part of his immediate family in Brooklyn, NY.
A proud son of Palestine, born in exile and educated in Lebanon, East Germany, and Cuba, Ali was active in the Palestinian liberation movement locally and internationally, as well as all struggles for liberation and sovereignty in Indigenous communities around the world. Many consider Ali (Brother/Hermano Ali!) a member of their communities working towards justice and peace. Indeed, he is also survived by his large circle of friends, comrades, and associates in the Indigenous and justice communities from around the world.
Following the death of Ingrid in 1999, Ali founded and became the President and C.E.O. of the Flying Eagle Woman Fund for Peace, Justice, and Sovereignty, to honor Ingrid’s life and carry on her work on behalf of the Indigenous peoples of the world as well as her home community, the Menominee Nation, in the state of Wisconsin. Through the Fund, he was instrumental in the work of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, since its inception, facilitating the participation of Indigenous peoples from around the world, opening doors, explaining the UN system and introducing leaders and community people to ambassadors, UN staff and other participants, all in service of the global Indigenous Movement.
Ali was also a member of the board of directors of the Rigoberta Menchú Tum Foundation/Fundación Rigoberta Menchú Tum, and of the Peace Development Fund. His formal and informal affiliations spanned the globe, from Alaska to Taiwan, from Brooklyn to Cuba.
Ali was known for his love for the people, his generosity of spirit, and his generosity of resources and connections, always going above and beyond, doing his best to facilitate and to promote Indigenous causes and all communities in struggle. Indeed, for 20+ years, his home in Brooklyn served as a kind of “embassy” for the indigenous peoples of the world and for many others, from all walks of life. He was friends with everyone, “from the doorman to the president,” as he liked to say.
The world mourns the tremendous loss of a fierce and fiercely loving leader/brother/mentor in Ali, now a warrior ancestor. His global community will miss him profoundly, and we will do our best to carry on with his legacy and his work, and to hold his and Ingrid’s memories in the light. They were always in service of the people, from all walks of life, in grief and in hope.
~ Yi-Chun Tricia Lin