Donald F. Malonson, head of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, died on Aug. 22. Cause of death was not released. He was 86.
Malonson, also known as Chief Running Deer, was born and raised in the same home where he reared his own children. He only left the area once — to serve in the 61st United States Naval Construction Battalion in the South Pacific during World War II.
He became chief of the Wampanoag in 1952 and headed the 1,000-member tribe for over half a century. After years of lobbying Congress, the tribe officially received federal recognition in 1987. At that time, it was granted 500 acres of tribal lands on Martha’s Vineyard.