Brian Cladoosby

Brian Cladoosby was beaten Sunday in a Swinomish Indian Senate election.

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Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Chairman Brian Cladoosby lost an election Sunday to retain his seat in the tribe’s Senate.

Cladoosby served as a senator for 35 years and as chairman for 23, according to a news release from the tribe.

“I have been blessed to be chosen to serve our people, and today my heart is with you all,” Cladoosby said in the news release. “... As the longest serving Chairman in Swinomish history, I am honored to have worked with the many elders who have preceded us and those who are seated here today.”

The Swinomish Indian Senate is set to elect a new chair at its next meeting.

Cladoosby was defeated in the election by Alana Quintasket, a 27-year-old intern in the Swinomish Department of Planning and Community Development.

Quintasket has taught Lushootseed in local schools, and has studied indigenous rights and social justice at Arizona State University, and American Indian studies at the University of Washington. Her platform: that it was time for a new generation of leadership. Her campaign slogan was “Make Shift Happen.”

“We all thank Chairman Cladoosby for his love and dedication to Swinomish for many years,” Quintasket said in the news release. “He has led our community at home and across the country with strength and vision. He has brought us far and is the reason that I am prepared to step into a leadership role.”

There were 323 votes cast in the race, according to the news release. The Swinomish Indian Senate, the governing body for the tribe, has 11 members who serve five-year terms.

During Cladoosby’s tenure as Swinomish chairman, the tribe’s economy and public services expanded.

The tribe built the Swinomish Lodge and launched other economic enterprises. The Swinomish Police Department became the first tribal law enforcement agency to be accredited by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, the tribe started a dental health therapist program and opened didgwalic Wellness Center, which assists in opioid recovery.

In addition to his time as a member of the Senate, Cladoosby served two terms as president of the National Congress of American Indians and as president of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians. He currently serves on the Washington Indian Gaming Association board of directors.

Sophie Bailey, who has served in the Swinomish Indian Senate since 2000, ran unopposed and won re-election Sunday.


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