Teri Gobin speaks at the Tulalip Tribes headquarters Aug. 10, 2017. She was recently elected chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Teri Gobin speaks at the Tulalip Tribes headquarters Aug. 10, 2017. She was recently elected chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

New Tulalip tribal leader is following in her dad’s footsteps

Recently elected chairwoman Teri Gobin learned lessons in leadership from her father, Stan Jones.

TULALIP — As a child, she watched how hard her father worked.

He’d spend eight-hour days on tribal business followed by two or three hours readying his fishing boat at the Tulalip Marina. Then he’d come home and pore over federal documents and contracts, absorbing every bit of knowledge he could.

She admired how he would visit elders’ homes and attend each tribal member’s funeral, how he could speak his mind with diplomacy and seek answers with persistence.

Stan Jones served on the Tulalip Tribes’ Board of Directors for 44 years, including 26 as tribal chairman. No one has served longer. He is 92 now, having stepped away from tribal leadership nearly a decade ago.

His daughter, Teri Gobin, is in her third year on the tribal board. At an annual general council meeting Saturday, tribal members voted her their chairwoman.

“I was in shock at first,” she said. “It was, ‘Oh my gosh.’”

Gobin, who previously served as tribal vice chairwoman, is following in her father’s footsteps and thinking about others from her family who served on the tribal board, including her grandfather, brother and an aunt, an uncle and a great uncle.

Board members are elected to three-year terms. The chairmanship is voted on annually. Gobin takes over for Marie Zackuse.

Also elected to the seven-member board were Glen Gobin and Misty Williams-Napeahi. They were among the 12 candidates seeking two seats in Saturday’s election.

“We need to fight for things that are important to us, (battling) opioid addiction, housing, health care, our schools and how we can provide our children a better education, and employment for all tribal members,” Gobin said.

There are roughly 4,800 members of the Tulalip Tribes, with about 2,600 making their homes on the 22,000-acre reservation west of Marysville.

These are busy times for the tribes, one of Snohomish County’s biggest employers and business catalysts.

A drone captured a photo of the big crane at the construction site of the Quil Ceda Creek Casino on March 14. (Hibulb Cultural Center & Natural History Preserve)

A drone captured a photo of the big crane at the construction site of the Quil Ceda Creek Casino on March 14. (Hibulb Cultural Center & Natural History Preserve)

Visible from I-5, a crane looms over the site on the southeast corner of the reservation where the tribes are building their newest casino. It will replace the existing Quil Ceda Creek Casino at 6410 33rd Ave. NE.

Quil Ceda Creek Casino — also known as “the Q” — is the smaller of the tribes’ two casinos on Tulalip land.

There also are plans to build a large gathering hall with a view of Tulalip Bay. It would accommodate more than 1,500 tribal members.

A drone captured a photo of the gathering hall, currently under construction, on March 14. (Hibulb Cultural Center & Natural History Preserve)

A drone captured a photo of the gathering hall, currently under construction, on March 14. (Hibulb Cultural Center & Natural History Preserve)

Gobin has worked for the tribes for more than three decades, including stints as the Tulalip Marina Port Master, an AmeriCorps coordinator, and as director of the Tulalip Tribal Employment Rights Office.

Now she wants to keep in mind lessons learned from her dad: “The way he led his people with compassion, listening to them, bringing up the quality of life.”

She said she hopes she can make contributions within the context of a tribal motto she hears on the reservation these days — “Let us be the ancestors that our descendents thank.”

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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