Roland Francis Moonamun James of Chatham died on Dec. 4 following a month-long effort to treat advanced lung cancer.

He had been living in recent years in the Cambridge/Boston area; he entered the VA hospital in West Roxbury in late October. He briefly spent time in a palliative care facility in Brockton, before developing an infection which required readmission to the hospital.

He was the oldest of three children born to Priscilla and Frank James.

He attended elementary and middle school in Chatham, and then was awarded a full music scholarship to the New York Military Academy in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, where he graduated high school. He had a long career in music, learning the clarinet at an early age under the tutelage of his father, a music teacher at Nauset Regional High School. Roland continued to pursue the clarinet, and also the flute, while serving in the navy. He was stationed in Newport, R.I., where he played in a German-style band, The Dukes of Rhineland, during some of his off-duty time. Other prominent navy assignments took Roland to Japan, and toward the end of his time in the service, to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, near Zion, Ill. Later, he taught music at the New York Military Academy, where he had once been a student.

His father, known by his Native American name, Wamsutta, was a leader in the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah. Roland followed in his father’s footsteps, participating in the very first National Day of Mourning, held in Plymouth in 1970. Through the years, he was actively involved in many Native American causes, and frequently acted as a spokesperson for the tribe.

He always had a sparkle in his eyes, and a smile which often lit up a room. And he had a zest for life and a love for the people in it which never wavered until the very end. Everyone who met him knew this to be true.

He was predeceased by his mother and father. He is survived by his younger sisters, Sharon Ryone of Brewster, and Donna Sacher of Denver, Colo., as well as by his eldest son, Benjamin James of Tewksbury, twins Womsikuk James and Kimimilasha James, of Watertown.

A memorial service was held at the Bourne National Cemetery on Dec. 14.

Donations can be made to the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), 20 Black Brook Road, Aquinnah, MA 02535.