Marjorie James

Marjorie James

Marjorie James’ own struggle informs her advocacy for tribes

She tried the Ivy League but returned to Tulalip to help spread the teaching of tribal history.

This is one of 12 finalists for the Herald Business Journal’s Emerging Leaders award, which seeks to highlight and celebrate people who are doing good work in Snohomish County. The winner will be named at an event on April 12.

Name: Marjorie James

Age: 35

Profession: Historical education coordinator, Tulalip Tribes

Marjorie James counts resiliency among the traits that define her as a person.

It’s part of her identity. And it’s part of how she’s overcome disappointment.

“My existence is proof of my ancestors’ resilience and another chapter of our narrative as indigenous people thriving in a dominant culture that is not ours,” James wrote. “The moments I relied on my resiliency the most were all of loss including the loss of a dream.”

The historical education coordinator for the Tulalip Tribes points to her pursuit of a law degree from Harvard University. She graduated from the University of Washington and worked at two law firms that were supportive of an “entry-level idealist.”

She was accepted into several law schools including Harvard’s. She was drawn to the Ivy League.

“Unfortunately, what I found in my choice were two parties, myself and Harvard Law School, who were ill equipped to support or understand each other,” James wrote. “My experience presented adversities I had not anticipated and culture shock that shook me to the core of my identity.”

She said she left without obtaining her law degree. Instead, she did make her way back to the Tulalip Tribes where she’s an enrolled member and where she now works.

At her job, James has helped create partnerships between the tribes and five school districts to provide curriculum to meet state requirements while also delivering the history of the Tulalip Tribes on a region-wide level.

She still intends to get her degree from Harvard. In the meantime, she’s happy working at an organization that has helped so many people in the community, county and state as the Tulalip Tribes.

“The privilege to make my passion my profession while working for my tribal government is one I am grateful to take full advantage of,” James wrote.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Business Briefs: State minimum wage rises in January

Also, Boeing workers’ donations support local nonprofits and fundraiser for businesses impacted by Bolt Creek wildfire.

Jollee Nichols, right, and daughter Ruby, 2, work on an art project together at the Imagine Children’s Museum on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
With new addition, Imagine Children’s Museum doubles in size

More than just space, the Everett museum’s new $25 million wing is an investment in mental health.

Artistic rendering of 526 Speedway exterior. (Mosaic Avenue Realty Ltd.)
Mosaic Homes looks to add industrial condo space in Mukilteo

Mosaic Homes steps into commercial real estate development with 526 Speedway, an industrial condo project.

Andy Illyn with a selection of his greeting cards, Cardstalked, that are sold at What’s Bloomin’ Floral on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Adventure-seeking cop finds new thrill in greeting cards

Mukilteo assistant police chief Andy Illyn unwinds by turning puns and dad jokes into greeting cards.

Dan Murphy, left, Mary Fosse and Rex Habner. (BadgleyPhotography.com / Snohomish & Island County Labor Council)
Everett City Council member honored by local labor council

Mary Fosse, candidate for District 38, receives the first annual Mike Sells Labor Champion award.

Shoppers walk in and out of Macy’s at Alderwood Mall were Black Friday deals are being advertised on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Go ahead, hit snooze: Most Black Friday deals are online

Braving the stores on Black Friday is still a thing, but more retailers are closed on Thanksgiving.

FILE - In this photo provided by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, a crane and boats are anchored next to a collapsed "net pen" used by Cooke Aquaculture Pacific to farm Atlantic Salmon near Cypress Island in Washington state on Aug. 28, 2017, after a failure of the nets allowed tens of thousands of the nonnative fish to escape. A Washington state jury on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, awarded the Lummi Indian tribe $595,000 over the 2017 collapse of the net pen where Atlantic salmon were being raised, an event that elicited fears of damage to wild salmon runs and prompted the Legislature to ban the farming of the nonnative fish. (David Bergvall/Washington State Department of Natural Resources via AP, File)
State won’t renew leases for Puget Sound fish farms

Cooke Aquaculture has until Dec. 14 to wrap up steelhead farming and begin deconstructing their equipment.

Kevin Flynn, right, a meat-cutter with the Marysville Albertsons, hands a leaflet to a shopper during an informational campaign on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. Flynn was one of about a dozen grocery store workers handing out leaflets to shoppers about the proposed merger between Albertsons and Kroger. (Mike Henneke / The Herald)
Proposed merger of Albertsons and Kroger worries employees

Workers at an Albertsons in Marysville urge shoppers to sign a petition blocking the $25 billion deal.

Kim Taylor, left, and Jeff Stoner co-own Greenbank Cidery, a newly opened taproom on Whidbey Island with eight varieties of cider on tap. (Rachel Rosen / Whidbey News-Times)
Cider tasting room opens on Whidbey Island

The owners of Greenbank Cidery have opened a tasting room in Coupeville. Eight varieties of cider are on tap.

Erika Heer, EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer at Coastal Community Bank
Quiet Quitting – the good, bad and what to do about it

Mid-summer, the term ‘quiet quitting’ became a part of the vocabulary of… Continue reading

Customers walk in and out of Fred Meyer along Evergreen Way on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Store managers in Everett plead for help with crime, public safety

Two Fred Meyer stores report theft, drug use and threats, despite increased security and presence from Everett police.

Group14 Technologies factory floor in Woodinville, Washington on March 1, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Snohomish County-based battery maker awarded $100M federal grant

Money from US Department of Energy will help Group14 Technologies construct a new manufacturing plant in Moses Lake.