Tribal Government & News

Casino hosting ATNI Mid-Year Convention

Tribal representatives from Native governments in Oregon, Idaho, Washington state, southeastern Alaska, northern California and western Montana will converge on Spirit Mountain Casino Monday, May 23, through Thursday, May 26, for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians’ Mid-Year Convention.

The conventions are where Indian Country of the Northwest comes together to advance the work for their communities in developing and implementing policy and programs for the region. The convention serves as a platform for sharing information on matters of interest, as well as representing and advocating for the interests of member Tribes.

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde has been an ATNI member for many years and Tribal Council member Tonya Gleason-Shepek is the primary Grand Ronde Tribal representative.

“We are honored to host the ATNI Mid-Year Conference,” Gleason-Shepek said. “It provides a great opportunity for Tribal leaders and staff to collaborate on issues that are important to Northwest Tribes. We are thankful for the opportunity to share our culture and history. We hope everyone enjoys our facilities and beautiful lands.”

ATNI formed in 1953 and is dedicated to Tribal sovereignty and self-determination. Currently, it is a nonprofit organization representing 57 Northwest Tribal governments.

“Through its conferences, forums, networks and alliances, it is the intent of ATNI to represent and advocate for the interests of its member Tribes to national Indian and non-Indian organizations and governments,” states the organization’s website.

Preliminary events begin on Sunday, May 22, with registration occurring in the casino’s Event Center and a tour of the Grand Ronde community scheduled in the afternoon.

Full-day schedules begin on Monday with a “State of ATNI” speech delivered by Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Indian Nation.

Highlights include the General Assembly hearing from the 2016 Hatfield Fellow Maria Givens and a Culture Night at achaf-hammi, the Tribal plankhouse, occurring on Tuesday.

Tuesday also is the deadline for any resolutions to be submitted for General Assembly consideration.

On Wednesday, General Assembly attendees will listen to presentations on food sovereignty, the Portland Area Indian Health Service and the American Indian Tourism Conference. In the afternoon, the General Assembly will hear about addiction science and preventing youth suicide in Native communities.

Activities wrap up on Thursday morning with a review of resolutions coming out of the Mid-Year Convention and adjournment at noon.

The Mid-Year Convention also will include a concurrent tradeshow held Monday through Wednesday.

In addition, Tribal employees will be volunteering behind-the-scenes to make the convention run smoothly by preparing welcome packets, typing, photocopying and delivering informational packets, taking phone messages, greeting attendees and helping with directions inside the casino.

Throughout the convention, Grand Ronde Tribal Council members, drummers, Color Guard and Royalty will be participating.

Tribal Council Chief of Staff Stacia Martin, Tribal Council Administrative Assistant Shannon Simi and Public Affairs Administrative Assistant Chelsea Clark have worked with ATNI Executive Director Terri Parr on coordinating the event.

The Tribe and Spirit Mountain Casino last hosted the Mid-Year Convention in May 2010.

For more information about ATNI and the convention, visit