Indigenous entrepreneur, multi-millionaire businessman R. Kenneth Hill dies

Written by Norris McDonald

It’s interesting when one of this country’s most successful businessmen and entrepreneurs dies and the major media don’t even bother to record his death. That he happened to be Indigenous, and a multimillionaire, makes it all the more curious.

R. Kenneth (Ken) Hill of Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, died on Monday at his winter home in Miami. He was 62.

Mr. Hill was an owner of the largest Indigenous tobacco company in the world, Grand River Enterprises, and launched a number of other businesses providing employment for hundreds of people. An uncle of Six Nations Elected Chief Mark Hill, he also supported numerous charities.

I knew him because of his ownership, with a partner, of Jukasa Motor Speedway, formerly Cayuga Speedway, which is located just outside of Hagersville, south of Hamilton. Track manager Alex Nagy issued a statement following the publishing of a story about Mr. Hill’s passing in a local weekly, the Turtle Island News.

“It was Ken’s vision for the Speedway that led to the resurrection of the former Cayuga Speedway, which hosted many of the world’s best stock car and open-wheel participants, such as Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Darrel Waltrip and Junior Hanley.

“After acquiring the Speedway in 2014, Ken’s goal was for it to once again become Canada’s premier racing and entertainment facility.

“By all accounts, Ken fulfilled his vision to the delight of motor racing fans from across North America. Ken had a true passion for racing, attended most events since the Speedway’s re-opening and frequently took the time to speak with race participants and fans, often thanking them for coming to Jukasa Motor Speedway.

“Today and every day, Ken will be missed by his Jukasa Motor Speedway family, racing fans and participants. Ken was a true force of nature. His commitment to racing, kindness and generosity will never be forgotten.”

Mr. Hill leaves his children and extended family members. Grand River Enterprises has asked for privacy for the family.

Which might explain why none of the national newspapers, Global, City, CBC or CTV has bothered to report his death.

But I doubt that. They knew. I told them.