Billy Frank Jr.
Founding Board Chairman 2003-2014
The late Billy Frank Jr. was the founder and continual Board Chairman of Salmon Defense until his passing in 2014. Billy’s vision and determination is the foundation upon which Salmon Defense was built. Billy Frank Jr. served as chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) for most of its first 30 years. He committed his life to protecting his Nisqually people’s traditional way of life and to protecting the endangered salmon whose survival is the focus of tribal life. Beginning with his first arrest as a teenager in 1945 for “illegal” fishing on his beloved Nisqually River, he became a leader of a civil disobedience movement that insisted on the treaty rights (the right to fish in “usual and accustomed places”) guaranteed to Washington tribes more than a century before.
Squaxin Island Tribe
As owner and managing member of The Whitener Group, Bob Whitener has over 30 years of experience working with tribal governments and enterprises within Indian County. Bob has a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on business management and a Master’s of Public Administration.
Bob served as the CEO/Board President for Island Enterprises Inc. (IEI) for over 8 years. IEI is the economic development corporation for the Squaxin Island Tribe. At IEI, Bob handled all aspects of the corporation from its incorporation to its growth to nearly $100 million in gross sales and $10 million in net revenues. IEI created, acquired & managed a variety of tribal, state and international corporations. During his tenure at IEI, he created the Skookum Creek Tobacco Co. and quickly achieved profitability despite many roadblocks including state and private opposition.
Bob also has a deep understanding of the relationship between tribal economic activities and governance. Prior to creating IEI, Bob served for over 6 years as the Executive Director of the Squaxin Island Tribe. This entailed the management of the Tribe’s governmental programs, management of over 100 staff members and providing policy guidance to the Tribal Council.
In addition to having run tribal corporations and government, he has extensive experience in natural resources management, finance administration, human resources systems, tribal-state compact negotiations, policy development and federal negotiations. Bob is an enrolled member of the Squaxin Island Tribe.
Born and raised on the Swinomish reservation, Lorraine Loomis grew up fishing with her brothers Claude, Tandy Jr., Vince and Marv. All of her children fish as well. Her father, Tandy Wilbur Sr., was general manager of the Swinomish Tribe for more than 40 years. Her mother, Laura, served on the tribal senate for more than 50 years.
Her career in fisheries management started at the tribe’s fish processing plant. From cleaning to smoking and freezing fish, she did it all, working her way up to assistant manager of the plant.
Then, just after the 1974 Boldt decision that re-affirmed tribes’ treaty-reserved fishing rights, Swinomish tribal leaders asked if she would serve as fisheries manager.
While fish and shellfish management has filled her plate over the past several decades, Loomis also was called on to negotiate the tribe’s gaming compact with the state of Washington.
She serves as U.S. chair of the bilateral Fraser River Panel that manages sockeye under the U.S./Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty. She is secretary of the Skagit River System Cooperative board of directors. The cooperative is the natural resources management arm of the Swinomish and Sauk-Suiattle tribes. In addition, Loomis is the chair of the Northwest Indian Commission, after serving for many years as vice-chair.
Quinault Indian Nation
Fawn Sharp is the President of the Quinault Indian Nation, serving her third term since first being elected in 2006. She is an attorney with an academic background in Criminal Justice. She holds an advanced certificate in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University. President Sharp formerly served as Managing Attorney and Lead Counsel for the Quinault government, and Associate Judge and as an Administrative Law Judge for the Washington State Department of Revenue Tax Appeals Division. While president of the Quinault, Sharp was elected by the 57-member government organization, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, as their President in 2011, and serves as the Northwest Regional Vice President for the National Congress of American Indians. She completed two years of service as Chairman of the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretarial Commission on Indian Trust Administration and Reform that issued its final report in December 2013.
As the Tribal Chairman, (serving 1977-present), Ron Allen is responsible for representing the Tribe as the elected leader and for addressing political and policy issues and/or positions at the national, state and local levels. As the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) (serving 1982-present), he is also responsible for the executive administration of all the Tribe’s programs including education, career development, social services, housing, health, economic development, natural resources management, and cultural/traditional affairs.
As Tribal Chairman/CEO, he is responsible for leading the Tribe from a zero resource base in 1982 to a current annual budget level of over $80 million; and from a landless reservation base in 1982 to a land base of over 1,200 acres without federal assistance. Additionally, he has led the Tribe to establish business enterprises including Seven Cedars Casino, The Cedars Golf Course, Northwest Native Expressions Art Gallery, JKT Development, and Jamestown Health & Medical Supplies.
Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Chairman Shawn Yanity grew up separated from his ancestral heritage. From 1980-1986 Chairman Yanity worked for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as a Fish Culturist and Fish Tagger. In 1995 Chairman Yanity returned to the homelands of the Stillaguamish people where he began his mission to personally reconnect with and to restore the rich traditions of the Stillaguamish. He served for six years as a representative on the Stillaguamish Tribal Council and was elected Chairman in 2004. He also serves as the Tribe’s Fisheries Manager, Deputy Director of Safety, and a member of the Child Protective Team. Known for his ability to build collaborative relationships, Chairman Yanity’s extensive efforts to sustain and strengthen the Stillaguamish Tribe and other regional work earned him recognition as a 2005 Buffett Award Honoree. Shawn has been a partner with Salmon Defense for many years and joined the board in 2015.
Puyallup Tribe of Indians
Nancy is the second eldest daughter of Donald (Puyallup) & Janet (Tulalip), in the family of 8 siblings. She has spent most of her life at Franks Landing. Her parents had her and her siblings attend every meeting in tribal councils, and during the fishing rights struggle. Her parents played a crucial role as leaders during the fishing wars. She grew up learning firsthand about treaty rights, indigenous rights and human rights. Growing up, her home served as the meeting quarters for people involved in all movements: fishing, AIM, women’s rights, and spirituality teachings from very prominent leaders. In 1975 she was elected by fishermen to participate in negotiations with state and tribal agencies. She has served on the Puyallup Tribal Council and is currently Puyallup Tribe’s Shellfish Director.
Nancy is called to many events to give her expertise and background about her role in past and present issues involving injustices affecting Tribes, Tribal People, and Tribal Sovereignty. Her passion is to ensure future generations can have a healthy environment to enjoy and live in. Nancy joined the Salmon Defense Executive Board in 2016.
Councilman Gobin has served on tribal council for over 16 years and has served on the Business Committee for 13 years, 12 of those as the Chairman. Councilman Gobin serves on the Quil Ceda Village Council that oversees all business and development activities within the Village. He has served on the Planning, Gaming, and Fish commissions. Councilman Gobin has owned and operated a successful construction company for many years, and also continues a lifelong tradition of commercial fishing and staying active in many cultural and community activities. Councilman Gobin joined the Salmon Defense Executive Board in 2016.