Suquamish Tribal Council’s statement on Resumption of Government-to-Government Relations with the City of Poulsbo

Two and a half years ago, the Suquamish Tribe suspended our close relationship with the City of Poulsbo. Our decision came some months after the police shooting death of Stonechild Chiefstick and follow-on events that left our community reeling.

We are pleased to announce we are taking the first steps towards normalizing relations with the City as a result of a series of actions that have helped to alleviate tensions.


Since 2005, representatives of the City’s and Tribe’s councils have met regularly to discuss issues of mutual concern, including the environment, treaty fishing rights, growth management, education, and public safety. The Tribe suspended this relationship some months following the July 3, 2019, fatal shooting of Chiefstick after police responded to a 911 call and confronted him in a crowd gathered along Poulsbo’s waterfront to watch fireworks. Chiefstick, a father of five, was a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe and the Suquamish community. His death left the community shaken and angry. As the elected representatives of the Tribe, we had to ask ourselves whether there was sufficient safety for Tribal members who live, work or visit Poulsbo, and whether there was sufficient understanding to resume meeting with city officials.

Later events added salt to the wound. Chiefstick’s makeshift memorial at Poulsbo’s waterfront park was repeatedly desecrated, once by a Port of Poulsbo Commissioner, who was arrested (but not charged) for a drunken tirade against Native Americans.  The officer who shot and killed Chiefstick was not criminally charged by the Kitsap County Prosecutor nor disciplined by the City of Poulsbo, and remains on the force. Tribal community members and others who brought concerns to City leaders felt unheard and dismissed.

Since that time, the City of Poulsbo has taken the following important steps:

  • The City hired new Police Chief Ron Harding, who has taken significant action to reshape community policing culture. His policies now require extra hours of in-depth officer training (funded by the City), emphasizing de-escalation, crisis intervention, implicit bias, cultural awareness, compassion for those struggling with mental health and/or addiction, less lethal tools, and using force only as a last resort. He and the City increased their previous halftime Behavioral Navigator, social worker Jamie Young, to fulltime. She works with officers to understand and respond effectively during encounters with those affected by trauma, poverty, mental illness, and substance addiction; she coordinates closely with the CARES program (below).
  • In partnership with the Poulsbo Fire Department (and others), the City launched CARES, a proactive multi-disciplinary intervention program that responds to individuals struggling with behavioral health issues. It helps them obtain care for medical, mental health, substance abuse disorders, and other needs.  The City’s Housing, Health, and Human Services director, Kim Hendrickson, has been instrumental in coordinating with the Police Department and CARES to enhance first responders’ abilities to prevent their encounters with the public from turning deadly.
  • The City responded positively to calls for the public art at the Highway 305-Johnson Parkway roundabout to include visual acknowledgements of the Suquamish presence in this region with original Native art and language.
  • The City settled a civil lawsuit brought by Chiefstick’s family.
  • The City has issued statements acknowledging the suffering endured by Chiefstick’s family and the community at large.
  • The City has become an active member of the Government Alliance for Racial Equity (GARE), which comprises government leaders nationwide striving to combat racial injustice and to make their governments more diverse and equitable.

Next steps 

We have followed these developments within Poulsbo’s city government, aided by our Tribal Council’s Emissary, retired Judge Robin Hunt; she has acted as a go-between while formal Tribal communications with the City were suspended.  We are now ready to re-engage government-to-government relations.

We hope to re-establish our shared work, and discuss ways that first responders (including law enforcement) and mental health and social work professionals from our respective communities might collaborate to address mental health and substance abuse emergencies. We also want to renew elected leader discussions on growth management, water quality, and marine habitat protection.

We are encouraged that a continued focus on mutual respect, appropriate law enforcement, and accomplishing shared goals will provide a foundation for productive collaboration for years to come.



Suquamish Tribal Council Chairman Leonard Forsman
Vice Chairman Joshua Bagley
Secretary Windy Anderson
Treasurer Denita Holmes
Sammy Mabe
Luther “Jay” Mills Jr.
Rich Purser

Suquamish Tribal Council


Monday, June 27, 2022


 9:00 AM Executive Session

Leanne Nilluka, Rich Brooks

Nehreen Ayub, Della Crowell

Rebecca Jones

Vicki Cole

Dennis Lewarch


10:00 AM Campaign Statement

Rep. Jesse Young, Candidate for State Senate (26th District)


10:30 AM Executive Session Continued

Ben Brueseke, Colleen Studinarz

Devon Tiam, Rion Ramirez

Catherine Edwards


11:15 AM Campaign Statement

Sen. Emily Randall, Candidate for State Senate (26th District)


1:30 PM Special Guests/Reports

New Employee Introduction – Barbara Hoffman

New Employee Introductions – Nehreen Ayub

New Employee Introduction – Rebecca Jones

New Employee Introduction – Vici Hall

Kitsap Public Works Presentation – Cheyenne Covington & Michelle Perdue


1:50 PM Working Session

Elder’s Council – Bill Stroud

Kitsap County R-O-W for Suq. Regional Stormwater Facility – Maryanne Mohan


2:10 PM New Business

Fishline & PGST Wellness MOU – Brian Burwell

Social Work Supervisor Job Description – Nehreen Ayub

SSE POS/Inventory System – Andrew George

Suquamish Housing Procurement Policy – Vicki Cole

Insurance Broker of Record Change Request – Vici Hall


2:40 PM Consent Agenda

Resolution #2022-078 Tribal Emergency Response Commission

Resolution #2022-102 Chief Judge Employment Contract – Melody Allen

Resolution #2022-103 Appellate Judge Appointments – Melody Allen

Resolution #2022-106 Amendment: ARPA Allocation Amount for CKA Multi-Purpose Building

Resolution #2022-107 BIA FY2022 Timber, Fish and Wildlife – Supplemental Funds

Resolution #2022-108 Section 105 (I) Lease with BIA

Resolution #2022-109 ELC 2022-2023 School Year Calendar

Resolution #2022-112 FY2022 BIA Tribal Climate Resilience Program

Indian Housing Block Grant

2:45 PM Comments from the floor


2:55 PM Approval of Meeting Minutes









3:00 PM Council Comments

Tribal Council Meeting Dates


3:05 PM Adjourn

BIA Secretarial Election Results

Amending the Suquamish Tribe’s Constitution to Remove the Secretary of Interior and BIA Oversight


Posted on April 8, 2022


The Secretarial Election Board, whose members include Puget Sound BIA Superintendent Janine Van Dusen and Suquamish Tribal Members Martha George-Sachava and Charlene Renquist certify that the results of the election are to adopt the proposed Constitutional amendment.

The total vote is 137 in favor of adopting the Constitutional change and 59 opposed. A total of 280 Tribal members registered to vote in this election.



You are entitled to challenge the results of the election pursuant to 25 CFR §81.43 if you are a Registered Voter for this Election. Your written challenge must be received by April 13 at 4pm by Superintendent Janine Van Dusen. Superintendent Van Dusen can be reached via email at or at (425) 622-9158.

The following is the statute that defines this process:

§ 81.43 How are the results of the Election challenged?

Any person who was listed on the Eligible Voters List and who submitted a voter registration form may challenge the results of the Secretarial election. The written challenge, with substantiating evidence, must be received by the Chairman of the Secretarial Election Board within 5 days after the Certificate of Results of Election is posted, not including the day the Certificate of Results of Election is posted. Challenges received after the deadline for filing challenges will not be considered. If the third day falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the challenge must be received by close of business on the next business day.

The Northwest Regional Office Director, Bryan Mercier, will receive the election results and any challenges that the Election Board receives. The Regional Director will rule on the challenges and approve or disapprove the election results on or before June 1, 2022.

General Council 2022 Handbook Submissions

Suquamish Government Directors and Managers: Submit your section of the General Council handbook here.
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    Kraken Tickets Raffle — Enter Here

    The Seattle Kraken is giving the Suquamish Tribe 10 upper bowl tickets to Indigenous Peoples Night at the Kraken game on Dec. 6, 2021, at 7pm. Enter to win a pair of tickets below. We’ll choose the five Tribal members whose numbers come closest to a pre-selected random number to each receive two tickets.

    One entry per Tribal member, please.

    Note: All who attend must wear a mask, and all who are age 12 or older must bring proof of vaccination.


    Kraken Raffle

    Answer questions below by Dec. 1, 2021, for a chance to win a pair of tickets to Dec. 6, 2021 Kraken game against the Pittsburg Penguins at Climate Pledge Arena. For Tribal members -- one response per person, please.
    Please enter a number from 10 to 99.
    Two tickets will go to the five Tribal members who guess the closest to a random pre-selected number.
    I learned about this raffle ...(Required)
    How should we reach you if you win? Enter phone number or email address.

    Healing of the Canoe Survey

    Healing of the Canoe is working on an adult version of the Youth Curriculum. This survey will help us better understand what adults in the Tribe want to see included. These questions come from initial focus groups with Suquamish Elders, Cultural Committee, and Suquamish leaders.

    We appreciate you taking 5 minutes to complete this survey.


    What are traditions you used to see, that you don’t see anymore, or traditions you’ve heard about that you’d like to explore more?
    What is preventing you from practicing traditions and/or teaching them to your family? (Check all that apply)
    What do you think are some of the greatest challenges for adults in our community? (Check all that apply)
    Which of these skills or other skills would you like to see for yourself and the community?
    What is one of your favorite activities you’ve been apart of in the Suquamish Community?

    Suquamish Tribe Distribution Survey

    As the Suquamish Tribe continues with drive-thru distributions, we would like to better understand dates, times, and distribution items that work best for you and your family. We appreciate you taking 5 minutes to fill out this survey to help us improve future tribal distributions.


    Tribal Distribution Survey

    When Suquamish Tribal Government departments schedule a distribution, what day of the week works best for you to pick up items? (please choose all that apply)
    What time of the day works best for you to pick up distribution items? (please check all that apply)
    Which forms of communication do you use to find out about upcoming distributions? (please check all that apply)
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    Update your SUN contact info

    IMPORTANT: If you are trying to sign up for SUN for the FIRST TIME, please click here.

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    NOTE: If you stopped receiving SUN texts, you can usually turn them back on by simply texting the word “ALERT” to 22300. 

    If you have any questions or are unsure what to do, send an email to and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as possible.

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    For WA State Tribal Fishers: NOAA Cares Act Relief Payments Coming Friday

    Relief Payments from NOAA Cares Act State Funds coming Friday for Washington state ceremonial/subsistence fishers as well as for commercial fishers.

    Note: this is NOT part of the COVID-19 Hardship Assistance program recently announced by Suquamish Tribal Council. This is a completely separate program.

    Payments will be issued Friday, July 30, for all Tribal members 18 years old and above as part of NOAA Cares Act STATE  funds earmarked for subsistence and/or ceremonial fishers. Because all Tribal members are subsistence fishers, this payment will go out to all Tribal members residing in the state.

    Payments will be made to those who were at least 18 years old prior to June 30, 2020, as that was the deadline for harvestable species dates required within Jan. 1, 2020 to June 31, 2020 window.

    Payment will also be made to commercial fishers as part of Cares Act STATE Funds paid out by species catch. Each species payout will be per species for clams, halibut, and geoduck.

    Payments will be made by mail or direct deposit. If you’ve had an address change, please be sure to update your records with enrollment by Sept. 20, 2021 to receive your payment. We encourage everyone to make sure their address is current.