So now, what does Tecumseh Deerfoot Cook do now that he's retiring from his high-prestige job? He retains the equivalent of a consultancy with the Ethyl Corp. He'll continue to assist company officials seeking the best places to hunt and fish on Virginia's Southern Neck.
Cook's retirement is no ordinary retirement. At age 85, he stepped down as chief of the Pamunkey Indian tribe, whose 800-acre reservation with a population of about 75 is roughly 50 miles northeast of Richmond where, not incidentally, the Ethyl Corp. is headquartered.
It was 42 years ago that Cook was elected chief. At the time, he contended he was not noble enough to serve. Clutching a gold quartz watch and a plaque from Gov. Charles S. Robb, he followed the same line about his retirement over the weekend: "I never thought I was a good chief."
But visiting former Mattaponi tribal chief Curtis Custalow disagreed. He credited Cook with getting a $195,000 federal grant to build a culture center on the Pamunkey reservation in 1977.
William Miles replaced Cook as chief of the Pamunkeys. Said Cook of his continued work for Ethyl (and, given the state of our nation's history, let's all smile at his pardonable characterization): "Palefaces think that if they don't have an Indian guide, they won't kill anything. It's not true, of course, but it keeps me with a job. And I can't retire from everything, you know."