Tribal Government & News

Tribal Council secretary attends Elected Tribal Official Academy Training

03.29.2024 Danielle Harrison Tribal Council
Tribal Council Secretary Michael Cherry, second from left, attended the second annual Elected Tribal Official Academy Training that was held in February at ilani Casino Resort in Ridgefield, Wash. A few of her fellow attendees included The Evergreen State College Tribal Liaison Lyn Dennis, left, Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman Teri Gobin, second from right, and Cowlitz Tribal Council member Suzanne Donaldson. (Photo courtesy of The Evergreen State College)
Listen to "Podcast 106: Tribal Council Secretary Michael Cherry attends Tribal Elected Official Academy training" on Spreaker.


RIDGEFIELD, Wash. – Grand Ronde Tribal Council Secretary Michael Cherry attended the second annual Elected Tribal Official Academy Training in February at ilani Casino Resort.

Cherry was one 48 Tribal officials who participated in the training according to a press release from The Evergreen State College, which developed curriculum for the training.

Tribes represented included Squaxin Island, Nisqually, Lummi Nation, Confederated Tribes of Colville, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, Spokane, Hoh, Port Gamble S’Klallam; Tulalip Tribes; Jamestown S’Klallam; Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Skokomish and the Cowlitz Tribe.

Cowlitz Tribal Chairwoman Patty Kinswa-Gaiser welcomed attendees to the event and The Evergreen State College President John Carmichael gave opening remarks.

Resilient Tribal governance was highlighted throughout the training, including topics such as the federal Supreme Court, congressional updates, an overview of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, communication and political protocols, Tribal budgets and fiscal policy, climate change, legislative processes at the state and federal level, and gaming and sustainable Tribal economies.

Grand Ronde Tribal member and Northwest Regional BIA Director Bryan Mercier was one of the featured speakers.  

The training is a result of a consultation that previously took place at The Evergreen State College, in which Tribes requested a training for newly elected Tribal officials and Tribal liaisons.

“Attending the Elected Tribal Official Academy Training was a transformative experience that provided invaluable insights and opportunities to collaborate with other elected officials,” Cherry said. “The training offered a unique opportunity for both new and seasoned elected Tribal leaders to gain a deeper understanding of Tribal governance and Tribal sovereignty essential to our communities. I cannot emphasize enough how effective this training was, I only wish I attended sooner.”

For a more in-depth story about Cherry’s experience, listen to the Smoke Signals podcast by visiting and clicking on the “podcast” link under the dropdown menu.