About 700 people came to pay their respects to the man who shepherded the Mohegan tribe through federal recognition and towards owning and operating the Mohegan Sun casino.

About 700 people came to pay their respects to the man who shepherded the Mohegan tribe through federal recognition and towards owning and operating the Mohegan Sun casino.

Ralph Sturges, the chief for life of the Mohegan tribe, died early Monday. He was 88.

His funeral, which began at the Mohegan Church around 9 a.m. this morning  drew family, friends, tribal members in full regalia from a number of native groups.

A procession from the church to the Mohegan burial grounds along the Thames River at Fort Shantok where such leaders as U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., and Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele.