DEBRA LEKANOF - Chairperson

DEBRA LEKANOF - Chairperson

Debra Lekanof has been with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community since 2001 and serves as the Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison for Chairman Brian Cladoosby. She has engaged in local, regional, national and international governmental policy. The areas of government policy has ranged from economic development and growth, health care, social services, education, culture and international relations.

Along with Swinomish and the Coast Salish she has committed her time to restoring and preserving our indigenous way of life for futures generations. Debra 15 years in tribal government has offered opportunities through the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, National Congress of American Indian, Coast Salish Gathering to collaborate with other tribes to provide sustainable communities. Among these opportunities is her participation as the Western Washington Delegate to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Tribal Caucus, whose primary responsibility is to provide guidance on national tribal environmental policy and actions and the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians Natural Resource Committee Chair, and the Coordinator of the Coast Salish Gathering. Her experience has lead her to United States Congress and Washington State Legislature advocating on issues that would protect the sovereignty of the tribes at a local and national level.

Our elders gifted Debra with the privilege of carrying a name that is generations old and has been passed down from one strong woman to another. She is honored to carry the Tlingit name of the late Mary Thomas, and her daughter was honored to share her great grandmothers name, Edith Rener, and great great Auntie Sarah Williams.

She is committed to Yakutat for no other reason than to give back to the community what is has given to her; strength, honesty, compassion, and a generous soul. Debra shared this thought, “My teachings from my grandmother, Edith Rener and from my Dad, Bobby and mom, Frances, have blessed me with a harmony and balance in life. These teachings will guide me as I represent all of you.”