Forsman elected president of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians

SPOKANE — Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman is the new president of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.

Forsman received 3,343 votes to Colville Tribes Chairman Michael Marchand’s 2,987, Sept. 20 at the ATNI annual convention at The Davenport Grand in Spokane.

Forsman succeeds Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Nation. Forsman also serves as vice chairman of the U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; he was appointed by President Obama.

The Suquamish Tribe is a signatory to the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott.

During Forsman’s tenure as Suquamish chairman, the Suquamish Tribe has become an economic powerhouse in the region. The Tribe’s ventures include Clearwater Casino Resort, White Horse Golf Club, Kiana Lodge, PME Retail, and Port Madison Enterprises Construction Corporation. The Tribe is one of the largest employers in Kitsap County, and its economic prosperity has enabled it to reacquire ownership of more than half of its land on the reservation.

ATNI was founded in 1953 and has 57 member Tribes in seven states. It is organized and chartered as a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation under the laws of the State of Oregon. According to ATNI’s website, the organization as founded to “provide a forum for sharing information on matters of interest to its member Tribes, develop consensus on matters of mutual importance, assist member Tribes in their governmental and programmatic development consistent with their goals for self-determination and self-sufficiency, and provide for [an] effective public relations and education program with non-Indian communities.”

ATNI member committees develop and pursue regional strategies on such issues as economic development, drug abuse prevention, education, energy, health, housing, law and justice, social services, natural resources, taxation, transportation, trust reform, veterans, and youth.