Founding Salmon Defense Board Members:
Billy Frank Jr. (1931-2014)
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 are 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.
Lorraine Loomis (1940-2021)
Former Vice Chair and Founding Member (2003-2021)
Lorraine Loomis, beloved Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission chairperson, Swinomish fisheries manager, and Salmon Defense Vice Chair passed away August 10th, 2021, at the age of 81. Lorraine was born on July 25th, 1940, to Laura and Tandy Wilbur Sr. We are honored that the family of our Salmon Warrior Lorraine Loomis has asked that donations be made in her memory to the Salmon Forever Fund. Lorraine was a founding member and Vice-Chairperson of the Salmon Defense Executive Board. In 2018 Lorraine created and co-chaired the Billy Frank Jr. Salmon Coalition, the first-of-its-kind group of powerful change agents who come together to combine their collective power by developing and moving a Call to Action for our region’s salmon. Lorraine leaves behind a powerful legacy and helped pave a path for all to continue the mission of protecting salmon and preserving treaty rights for future generations.
Current Salmon Defense Board Members:
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.
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.
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.
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
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.
Quinault Indian Nation
Fawn Sharp is currently the President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native tribal government organization in the country. She is also the former chair and current vice chair of the Quinault Indian Nation. 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 served two years of service as Chairman of the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretarial Commission on Indian Trust Administration and Reform.
Lisa Wilson / Qwa’shi’lo’sia
Lisa Wilson is an elected member of the Lummi Indian Business Council and serves as the vice chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, which is headquartered in Olympia, Washington. She also serves as the co-chair of the Natural Resources Committee of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, and is the former Endangered Species Act manager of Lummi Natural Resources. Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree in Native Environmental Science from Northwest Indian College and created the documentary Time Immemorial: A Fishing History of the Lummi People as her capstone project. Her expertise lies in treaty protection and fisheries policy management.
Bonita Cleveland / ~ Hah-Yea-Letsa~
Bonita Cleveland Reames, member of the Quileute Nation was born and raised on the coast and is the eldest of Charles and Shirley Cleveland’s 5 children. Her mother Shirley Cleveland was a lifelong Quileute fish warrior from the small fishing village of La Push, and she raised Bonita to follow in her footsteps. During the fish wars Bonita was a fish warrior and was actively involved in the fight that led to the Boldt decision. She joined Billy Frank Jr’s “fish-ins” by exercising her treaty protected right to fish within her usual and accustomed area when the State of Washington deemed it illegal, which resulted in her forcible arrest and her fish, fishing gear and truck being impounded.
Bonita has served on the Quileute Tribal Council for over 10 years in the role of Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, and member. For over 17 years she has also served on numerous Business Committee’s for Quileute, including the Enterprise Board, School Board, NWIFC Policy Representative, Culture Committee, and others. Additionally, Bonita was instrumental Chairwoman for Quileute Tribal Council in working with Congress in obtaining land for the protection and safety of their people moving to higher ground out of the immediate tsunami zone. Many milestones were achieved; bill 1162 bill 636 were passed under her and her team’s watch.
Cleveland continues to serve on the Quileute Natural Resources Committee, the Enrollment Committee, and the Quileute Elders Panel. She has been an employee of Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for 20 years, currently as the Coastal Administrative Assistant. Previously she was the owner and operator of Orca Helicopters, the fishing vessel Midnight Gambler and several river fishing boats for many years during her youth. Bonita has worked directly for her tribe as a health clinic nurse and assistant, Housing Director, Executive Director, and Cultural Resources Lead. Bonita is dedicated to working as part of a cohesive unified cultural team among other traditional positions she stays heavily involved in.