The Tulalip Tribes’ new chairwoman, Marie Zackuse (center), leads a prayer as the tribe dedicates a medicine wheel garden at the Tulalip Health Clinic on Monday on the Tulalip Reservation. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The Tulalip Tribes’ new chairwoman, Marie Zackuse (center), leads a prayer as the tribe dedicates a medicine wheel garden at the Tulalip Health Clinic on Monday on the Tulalip Reservation. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Tulalip Tribes members elect first woman-majority board

TULALIP — For the second time in its history, the Tulalip Tribes will have a woman leading its board.

On Saturday, the Tulalip Tribes membership voted in two new board members and elected Marie Zackuse chairwoman.

Zackuse replaces Chairman Melvin Sheldon Jr., who will remain on the board in a non-officer position.

The tribal membership also elected Teri Gobin, the longtime director of the Tribal Employment Rights Office, and Jared Parks, son of current board member Les Parks, to the board. Les Parks also won re-election.

Gobin joins Zackuse, Theresa Sheldon and Bonnie Juneau on the first female-majority board in the Tulalip Tribes’ history.

The first Tulalip chairwoman was Harriette Shelton Williams Dover, who served on the board for 14 years starting in 1939, according to HistoryLink.org.

Zackuse has been on the board since 1990. She has been involved in the state Early Learning Advisory Council and has worked with the Washington State School Directors’ Association to improve tribal student performance and incorporate tribal history, culture and government into curricula.

Zackuse said her first task as chairwoman would be to schedule a retreat with the other board members and work on smoothing over disputes that had developed among the tribal leadership.

“In that retreat we’re going to be able to agree to come together,” she said.

The Trump administration’s proposed cuts to many programs are likely to have a large impact, she said, so over the next year the board is going to have to focus on working within shrinking budgets and finding other sources of revenue.

“We need to look at other businesses besides casinos,” Zackuse said.

Sheldon said he was excited for Zackuse taking on the leadership role and said he plans to continue working on behalf of tribal members, especially on health care and education.

The election, Sheldon said, “does allow me to work from a different seat on the board, but still work for our people.”

Candidates do not run for specific seats. Rather, the board seats are won by candidates with the highest overall number of votes. A separate round of votes then determines who will fill the officer positions. Board members serve three-year terms.

Jared Parks won the highest number of votes from the membership, with 391. Les Parks received 379 votes and Teri Gobin 297 votes.

Board members Herman Williams Sr. and Glen Gobin did not win re-election. There were candidates on the ballot.

Teri Gobin also was elected vice-chairwoman. Les Parks retained his position as treasurer and Theresa Sheldon was chosen as secretary.

The new officers are scheduled to be sworn in April 1.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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