We remember a wonderful man: Nathan Moose, Oglala Sioux, 1958-2013

On this the five-year anniversary of Nathan Moose’s death as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke, we remember his life and his legacy. Nathan was from Idaho and in high school he was on track and basketball teams. He later married his high school sweetheart, Jean Ann.  Nathan enjoyed an active life as a father and also refereeing high school basketball games and dancing in tribal powwows competitively.

Nathan worked in a smoky casino for 11 years. It robbed him of his health and a favorite pastime—tribal dancing. Although Nathan never smoked, secondhand smoke damaged his lungs. After a few years on the job he began to get lung infections and ultimately was diagnosed with bronchiectasis, an irreversible lung disease.

Nathan never smoked a day in his life.

In 2011, Nathan spoke at ANRF’s Clearing the Air Institute about the need for smokefree workplace policies and laws for everyone, including casino workers. Nathan said, “We need to educate people about the dangers of secondhand smoke. I’m going to spread the word. I’m going to spread the awareness of what it can and will do to people.” In 2013, he was featured in the CDC TIPS ads with a simple message of “When you smoke, it affects more than just your health; it affects nonsmokers too.”

Less than a year after making those ads, Nathan died from complications from secondhand smoke exposure. He was 54.

Nathan’s message about the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure lives on and remains impactful and important to so many communities across this Nation. During his life, Nathan took a brave stand and advocated for smokefree powwows and smokefree tribal property including casinos. We are privileged and proud to have known him, and we will never forget his bravery or his story.

Want to help other workers like Nathan? Support ANR’s (our sister organization, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights) work on smokefree casinos.