Meet Our Councilmembers

Picture of Commissioner Juárez, wearing a black shirt and grey suit jacket.

Donny Stevenson (Muckleshoot)

(He/Him)
Position 1

Bio + -

Donny Stevenson is an elected member of the Muckleshoot Tribal Council and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe-- a role he considers to be the greatest honor of his professional life. Donny has worked as an Executive-level leader in Indian Country for 25 years, serving his Tribe and Native people. He attended Evergreen State College where he earned his formal education through a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts focused on Native American Studies. Donny is passionate about accessing the traditional teachings and wisdom of the ancestors and elders to build a sustainable and successful future for all; but, particularly his Tribal people and community. 

He believes sustainable futures are achieved through a lens of collaborative spirit toward unity while asserting Tribal identity, self-governance, and sovereignty. This approach ultimately builds pathways of creativity, healing, persistence, reclamation, and opportunity through the strength and legacy provided by Tribal culture and tradition.  

Donny and his wife Tina reside within the Muckleshoot Tribal community where they happily raised their four now-grown children who have taken on the very personal application of the family values and principles that have shaped their lives together and a responsibility to the next generation and all those that follow. Donny truly counts himself blessed to work within and serve Indian Country and considers this work sacred; not only a very real responsibility, but also a profound legacy and true blessing to be even a small part of. 

Read an interview with Councilmember Stevenson.

Picture of Commissioner Mills, smiling.

Jay Mills (Suquamish)

(He/Him)
Position 2

Bio + -

Luther “Jay” Mills is a Suquamish Tribal Member who has served more than 25 years as an elected Tribal Councilmember. He has been employed in several capacities by the tribe’s economic agency, Port Madison Enterprises, for more than 45 years. He currently serves as the Port Madison Enterprises Ambassador. Jay has more than 25 years of experience in Tribal Government, overseeing government operations such as administration, human services, community development, law enforcement, Tribal court, wellness, education, health benefits, and government-to-government relations with local cities, counties, Washington state, and the U.S. government.

Jay is also a commercial fisherman with a wealth of knowledge in gathering and preserving Salish Sea seafood for over 50 years. Jay has been teaching Chief Kitsap Academy students in the traditional ways to cook and preserve seafood that he learned from his great grandmother, Cecelia Jackson.  He and his wife Joanie have raised five amazing children, as well as 19 grandkids.

Jay serves on the Kitsap Economic Development Board, Washington Economic Development Association, Bremerton Chamber Board, Visit Kitsap Peninsula Board, Suquamish Foundation, Chief Kitsap Academy School Board, and is a former Leadership Kitsap Board Member.

Read an interview with Councilmember Mills.

Picture of Jeremy Takala, smiling.

Jeremy Takala (Yakama)

(He/Him)
Position 3

Bio + -

Jeremy Takala, known as Pax’una’shut in the Yakama Nation, is of the Kahmiltpah Band (Rock Creek) located on the Columbia River and a proud descendant of Hopi. He was nominated in 2020 to serve as a Tribal Councilman for Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. He currently chairs the Fish and Wildlife, Law and Order Committees, serves as Secretary of the Legislative Committee, and is a member of the Heath, Employment and Welfare Committee. Prior to his time in office, he worked 12 years for the Yakima Klickitat Fisheries Project (YKFP) as a fisheries technician. His hands-on training and Washut upbringing has contributed to his skillset as a Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission (CRITFC) Commissioner, alongside the Nez Perce, Umatilla and Warm Springs Tribes. He is compassionate about upholding his tribe’s Treaty Rights with the federal government and protecting resources for those yet unborn.  

Jeremy was raised in Goldendale, WA and is a proud member of the Rock Creek Longhouse. Learning to drum and provide for the longhouse at an early age is a tribute to his elders who have passed on their traditional educations. He continues to carry on old-style values with his wife Kim, their two sons Tyler and Clint and infant daughter Nena, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and extended community participants. When time allows between his son’s baseball and basketball schedules, he finds time to display his Round Bustle style of dance on the Pow-Wow circuit, with his boys right behind mimicking his every move. He has led students to national conferences as part of the Big River Council and has been an instrumental presence in local schools and parent committees as a voice for Native representation.  

Jeremy’s passion has always been in the mountains gathering traditional foods and medicines, hunting, fishing, and practicing the ways of time immemorial. He resides as a stewardship for future generations to understand and defend natural foods, streams, and animals. Striving to carry out the visions of past leadership while embarking on ways to preserve natural laws in the contemporary world. Jeremy attributes his large family and Longhouse gatherings as a reason for his achievements and for preparing him to be a team player—“it takes a village”. When called upon by the elders to take the helm, he graciously accepted their words of encouragement and stepped into his governance role. 

Picture of Cece Hoffman, smiling.

Cece Hoffman (Umatilla)

(She/They)
Position 4

Bio + -

Cece Hoffman is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), with ancestry also amongst the Nimiipuu and Ojibwe peoples. They graduated from the University of Washington in 2020 with a degree in Education, Communities, and Organizations. Since moving to Coast Salish lands from the Umatilla Indian Reservation, they have been involved with the ISTEAM (Indigenous Science Technologies Engineering Arts and Mathematics) summer camp for Native youth, First Nations at the University of Washington (UW), wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ UW intellectual House, Got Green, and the sləp̓iləbəxʷ (Rising Tides) Indigenous Planning Group where they have served as the Indigenous Seattle Intern with the City’s Office of Planning and Community Development. 

Cece currently works for Na’ah Illahee Fund as the Environmental Justice Coordinator. Through this role, they create, organize, coordinate, and facilitate capacity building Leadership Societies around Indigenous-led environmental justice, project development, political action, and civic engagement. In their free time, you can find Cece playing sports- such as basketball, golf, skateboarding, and tennis; reading; gardening; and spending time with friends and family. 

Read an interview with Councilmember Hoffman.

Picture of Suzanne Sailto, smiling.

Suzanne Sailto (Snoqualmie)

(She/Her)
Position 5

Bio + -

Suzanne Sailto is a Snoqualmie Tribal member and current Tribal Councilmember. She has had the opportunity to live and travel the world with her father who served 20+ years in the military, as well as through her current capacity as a leader and member of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe.  Suzanne graduated from Lakes High School and Ever-Increasing Word Ministries. She has three sons and two daughters-in-law and is blessed with four grandchildren, which are her world. She enjoys spending time with her family, travelling to different sporting events as well as canoe journey, powwows, and for work.  

Suzanne participates in the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and National Congress of American Indians to stay apprised on tribal legislation across Indian Country. She volunteers her time on boards including the Snoqualmie Ridge YMCA, Encompass in Snoqualmie, Elder Council for Chief Seattle Club, and Seaboard member of Snoqualmie Casino. 

Suzanne has been fortunate to be a part of major accomplishments for her Tribe such as acquiring Salish Lodge, purchasing 8th Generation, and a land purchase of Snoqualmie Ancestral Lands for use by tribal members. She enjoys being of service to her Nation and giving back to local communities and other Tribes. The reward in being of service to others is being able to see the smiles and receive hugs knowing she could be of a part of helping the local community.

Read an interview with Councilmember Sailto.

Picture of Esther Lucero, smiling.

Esther Lucero (Diné)

(She/Her)
Position 6

Bio + -

Esther Lucero is Diné and Latina and a third generation urban Indian from Colorado Springs, CO. Esther received a Master of Public Policy and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Native American studies from Mills College.

Esther joined the Seattle Indian Health Board in 2015 as President & CEO, with the goal of uplifting the organization’s longstanding dedication to the urban Indian community in health and human services, workforce development, public policy, and research. During her tenure, she has increased the operating budget by $23 million; built a team-based environment; established an Executive team; led the implementation of the first of its kind, Indigenous Knowledge Informed System of Care, and stewards the expansion of three additional clinic sites. Esther has previously served as the Director of Policy and Programs at the Native American Heath Center and the Director of Programs and Strategic Development for the California Consortium for Urban Indian Health. In addition, Esther has taught classes at San Francisco State University and San Francisco Art Institute.

Esther currently serves on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Advisory Committee for Women’s Services and the SAMHSA Region X Opioid Taskforce. In Washington State, she serves on the Governor’s Behavioral Health Taskforce, is a delegate to the American Indian Health Commission, and a delegate to the Governor’s Indian Health Advisory Council. Locally, she serves as the co-chair for King County Accountable Community of Health: HealthierHere’s governing board and serves on the Native Communities Committee.

Read an interview with Councilmember Lucero.

Picture of Derrick Belgarde, smiling.

Derrick Belgarde (Siletz & Chippewa-Cree)

(He/Him)
Position 7

Bio + -

Derrick Belgarde is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon, and also Chippewa-Cree from Rocky Boy, MT. Derrick has worked and served in the field of housing affordability, and has fought for the rights of those suffering from housing insecurity for many years. He currently serves on the board of Community Roots Housing, Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC), Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH), and the Housing Development Consortium. Derrick completed his undergraduate in Public Affairs magna cum laude, and went on to obtain a Master’s in Public Administration, both at Seattle University. He is a proud father of three and is married to the wonderful Lua Belgarde.

Read an interview with Councilmember Belgarde.

Picture of Asia Tail, smiling.

Asia Tail (Cherokee)

(She/Her)
Position 8

Bio + -

Asia Tail is an artist and community organizer based in Tukwila, Washington. She attended the Cooper Union School of Art in New York and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2014. In 2018, she co-founded yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective, an urban Native women-led arts nonprofit based in Seattle. yəhaw̓ now works with hundreds of interdisciplinary artists across the region and is acquiring an undeveloped site for transformative land-based cultural programming.

Asia has served as a freelance consultant for local organizations including Washington State Convention Center, Nia Tero, Johnson Ramirez Consulting, Seattle Aquarium, Chief Seattle Club, City of Tacoma, Spaceworks Tacoma, City of Seattle, Seattle Art Museum, Potlatch Fund, Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront, and ArtsWA, among others. She currently works as a Program Officer at Seattle Foundation.

Asia is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, born and raised on Coast Salish territories.

Read an interview with Councilmember Tail.

Picture of Jaci McCormack, smiling.

Jaci McCormack (Nez Perce)

(She/Her)
Position 9

Bio + -

Jaci McCormack grew up on the Nez Perce Reservation outside of Lewiston, Idaho. She fell in love with basketball early on and earned a scholarship to play for Illinois State University, where she earned her degree in Sociology. After her college career, Jaci was inspired to return home and give back to her community. She served as the Deputy Executive Director for the Nez Perce Tribe, as well as the Youth Prevention Director, building deep relationships with tribal and community partners.   

In 2015, Jaci founded Rise Above, a non-profit organization that gives Native youth the skills and resilience to overcome their circumstances and write their own futures. As the CEO of Rise Above, Jaci leads the organization in its mission to empower youth through a variety of programs including sports, education, music, financial literacy, prevention skills, and mentorship, using prevention strategies that will spark change in people’s lives. 

Read an interview with Councilmember McCormack.