Ken Hill, a prominent businessman from Six Nations of the Grand River and co-owner of the Grand River Enterprises (GRE) cigarette company, has died in Miami, Fla.
Steve Williams, president of GRE, told CBC News he learned of Hill’s death through family this morning.
“They’ve gone down to make arrangements and bring him back,” he said on Monday afternoon.
Williams said Hill contributed to his community.
“He was a businessman. He had other business beside the GRE,” he said. “He helped a lot of people in the community and surrounding areas. He had a lot of property in Caledonia and the States.”
“He’s employed a lot of people, and I think he’s going to be missed by a lot of people.”
In addition to GRE, Hill also once co-owned the Brantford Golden Eagles junior B hockey club and Jukasa Motor Speedway.
“Kenny was very welcoming of the series since his purchase of the speedway, and we were honoured to have been included in the track’s rebirth under his and his team’s vision for the speedway. He will be missed,” read a Facebook post from APC United Late Model Series, a page for an Ontario race car league.
He was also involved in creating the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation, which provides grants to Indigenous people and organizations. Celebrity supporters include Adam Beach, Kardinal Offishall and Emmanuel Lewis.
After Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Hill sent three jets loaded with relief aid to the Bahamas, where he also owns property.
Last year, Hill spurred some complaints after he allegedly held a party during the COVID-19 pandemic following Six Nations putting up barricades around the reserve.
Glen Murray, a former Winnipeg mayor and Ontario Liberal cabinet minister, expressed his condolences on social media.
“So very sad to hear of the passing of Ken Hill of of Six Nations of the Grand River and a founder of Grand River Enterprises. He was a strong community builder and brilliant entrepreneur who cared deeply for his family & community,” he wrote on Twitter.
So very sad to hear of the passing of Ken Hill of of Six Nations of the Grand River and a founder of Grand River Enterprises. He was a strong community builder and brilliant entrepreneur who cared deeply for his family & community. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/KenHill?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#KenHill</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/GrandRiver?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#GrandRiver</a>