Teri Gobin will serve as the Tulalip Tribes next chairwoman and hopes to continue the Tribes’ work on the environment, housing, economy and protecting sovereignty.
The Tulalip Tribes held their elections this March and Gobin will take over the chair position after spending the last two years on the council.
“I’ve been nominated [for chair] the last two years but I declined because I really respected Madam Chair [Marie Zackuse] and I wanted to learn from her,” said Gobin.
When she found out that Zackuse was not re-elected, along with Bonnie Juneau, Gobin said she decided to accept the nomination this time.
Misty Napeahi and Glen Gobin were also elected as part of the Tribes' new leadership.
“It’s sad to see the two ladies get off the board,” said Gobin, “but we look forward to working with the new members and moving ahead in a positive way.”
Before serving on the council Gobin worked for the Tribes for 17 years. She was the Tribal Employment Rights Office director for many years.
“I dealt with all of the contracting as well as vocational training for our Tribal members and employment,” she said.
Gobin is also the daughter of longtime Tulalip leader Stan Jones, who spent 44 years on the Tulalip Tribal Board. Jones was Tribal chairman for 26 of those years.
Now that Gobin is stepping into the same role, she hopes to continue the work the Tulalip Tribes have been doing.
“We’re always protecting our sovereignty,” she said.
That includes work such as Tulalip's' tax lawsuit, which they lost their but are now planning an appeal for that, said Gobin.
Another recent lawsuit that required the state to fix culverts that had not been maintained and were blocking salmon spawning routes went better for the Tribes.
Protecting the environment is a big priority for the Tribes, said Gobin.
“Restoration of stream habitat is extremely import for us,” she said.
Sometimes that means land acquisition simply to restore habitat, such as the Qwuloolt project.
“All along the streams people are offering us to buyback the land,” said Gobin.
“We will never be able to use it, but we can clean it up and get the salmon to spawn up there,” she said.
As housing prices continue to rise and become more burdensome, Gobin said Tulalip will work toward more affordable housing.
“There’s just such a housing need and it’s so bad, even throughout the county,” she said. “People that want to live here or return here have very limited housing opportunities.”
Gobin hopes to get apartment housing built for the Tribes and also remove barriers to home ownership as well.
“We’re starting them with financial training to help families secure home loans,” she said.
Another cost burden for Tulalip members is healthcare.
“Eventually we want to get to universal healthcare, to make sure we’re all getting the good healthcare that we need,” said Gobin.
“Through the [Point Elliott] treaty we were guaranteed healthcare, but that has always been lax,” she said.
Improving mental and behavioral health is also important for the overall healthcare picture as well, said Gobin.
The Tribes have spent $2 million sponsoring two studies at Stanford researching cannabis oils and their potential to treat various health problems.
Continuing economic development is also a goal for the Tribes, said Gobin.
The Quil Ceda Casino was delayed because of problems with the contractor, however it is now back on track, said Gobin.
To help Tulalip youth the TERO vocational program will work with teens this summer.
“This is the first year that we will have a youth component to this,” said Gobin, “and they’re getting construction training during the summer.”