Chinook Indian Nationchinook photocanoechinook photo

Chinook art

member log-in

Meet Your Tribal Council


  • R Gardner
  • S Robinson
  • P Disney
  • T Johnson
  • G. Rife
  • J Pulliam
  • J Wekell
  • G Johnson

Chairman Ray GardnerRaymond E. Gardner, 59, passed at his home just outside of Menlo, WA. Feb. 3rd after a long struggle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was born in South Bend, WA.
He married Jill Strago in Raymond at the home of his wife's sister's home on April 16, 1977. He was raised in South Bend & attended the South Bend Schools until 1974. He then moved to the Willapa Valley area after marrying Jill.

Surviving at the family home outside Menlo, WA is his loving wife Jill of almost 38 years. Also surviving Ray is his mother, Lois Burks, of Menlo, WA. His step sisters Carla Kubin (John) of Raymond, WA Chrissy Burks (Javier) of Olympia, WA, Debbie Manavian (George) of Orange, CA, Angie Cain (Greg) of Salmo, B.C. & one step brother Gene Burks (Tina) of Raymond, WA. Passing before him was his father Ray & sister Cindy Cherry.

Ray worked as a Transportation Specialist/Investigator with the state of Washington for 24 years. He also worked in local mills, the oyster beds, on a commercial crab & charter boats. Ray drove many types of trucks for 16 years.

Ray was chairman of the Chinook Indian Nation and served their council for 13 years. Through his mother he was a descendent of Chief Huskswelt of the Willapa Tribe of the Chinook Indian Nation. He also served on the executive board of American Rivers in Washington D.C. and on the Pacific County Marine Resource Council.

Ray had a great friendship with the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport which resulted in annual Columbia River trade events in Astoria & Ilwaco with the tall ships Lady Washington & Hawaiian Chieftain. He also had the opportunity to sail up the coast many times on the Lady Washington.
Ray enjoyed participating in the Chinook entry in the Loyalty Day parade & the South Bend Labor Day parade. He mentored native youth at both Greenhill & Naselle Youth camps. He traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby in the Senate & House of Representative & to testify before the Natural Resources Committee in an attempt to correct the injustice of the Chinook Indian Nation lack of federal status. Ray's public speaking was one of his strong points and always spoke from his heart which touched many people across the U.S. His ability to span the difficult cultural issues addressed as part of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial resulted in William Clark's descendants returning a replica of a canoe stolen from the Chinook over 200 years ago. Ray's input, advice & involvement in the development of the Middle Village/Station Camp Unit of the Lewis & Clark National Historical Park was critical in successful park completion.

Ray enjoyed skippering his canoe itsxut (Black Bear), on the Columbia River & Willapa Bay. He enjoyed carving Chinookan style canoe paddles, maintaining his home & yard, fishing from the riverbank of his home, reading, clam digging & traveling. One of his favorite things to do was to "sit and watch the river go by" as he said.

His kindness & leadership resulted in many friends & colleagues all over the United States, Canada, Asia &-Europe.

There will be no service at his request. Although a Celebration of Life may happen at a later date. Donations may be made to the Chinook Indian Nation or HAVA (Hava Heart Animal Shelter} P.O. Box 243, Raymond, WA or the charity of your choice.

Arrangements are in care of Stoller's Mortuary in Raymond.

~ return to top ~

Samuel Robinson - Acting Chairman (Vice-Chairman)

Sam RobinsonBirthplace: South Bend, WA

Current Residence: Vancouver, WA

Current Family Information: Wife: Mildred Daughters: Casandra, Rebecca

Family Descendency: Hawks (Huckswelt)

Education: LaCenter High, Clark Collage

Employment Information and Location: Plant Manager for Calvert Co. Inc (34yrs in 2012) Prior to that four years in the U.S. Army.

Hobbies: Drumming ,Carving and Canoeing Speaking in public about the Chinook Indian Nation. Being a Chupi (Grandpa) and helping share some of the Chinook ways with my Granddaughter Destany.

Chinook Committee Involvement:
Alvina Frisbie Scholarship Foundation since 2001

Year first elected to Council:2001

Goals While on the Council:Obtaining Chinook restoration. Making sure we keep the doors open at our tribal office. Obtaining social services for our tribal members. Educating and getting support from the public for the Chinook Indian Nationas we move ahead.

Additional Personal Information: On the board for the Friends of the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge.
Serving on the Cathlapotle Plankhouse Committee.
Serving on the board for the Chinook Web-site in partnership with the Center for Columbia River History.
Working with the Title Seven Program (Battle Ground,Evergreen,Vancouver and Camas School Dist.)
Serving as a Tribal Elder.

Tribal Secretary Peggy Disney

Peggy DisneyBirthplace: Raymond, WA

Current Residence: Bay Center, WA

Current Family Information: Spouse: Terry Disney Sons: (1) Marshall Daughters: (2) Falan, Mataya

Family Descendency: Pickernell, Tonwah, Aubichon-Elmermach

Education: South Bend High, 1977

Employment Information and Location: Self-Employed, Bay Center, WA

Hobbies: Cultural activities with the immediate family. Parents, brothers, sisters, etc. Camping, gathering berries, basket materials, cedar strip, etc. weaving.

Chinook Committee Involvement: No Committee involvement at this time. I have previously been on the Cultural Committee, Enrollment Committee, and the Communications Committee.

Goals While on the Council: Reach the final goal for the Tribe-Recognition from the U.S. Government!!

Additional Personal Information: I have lived my entire life in Chinook Country, always leaning toward the best thing for Chinook.

Tony Johnson- Position 5

Charlie FunkBirthplace: South Bend, WA

Current Residence: Willapa Bay, WA

Current Family Information: Wife Mechele and five children Mary, Sam, Tahoma, Ferrill and Maybelle.

Family Descendency: Pickernell and Ero families.

Education: Art and Anthropology. University of Washington and Central Washington University

Employment Information and Location: Education Director Shoalwaterbay Indian Tribe

Hobbies: I am driven by the art and lifeways of our ancestors. My family and I devote our time to these traditions. I am a founding member of our canoe family and serve as a skipper with the group. I continue to practice art and to teach language.

Chinook Committee Involvement: Cultural Committee, Enrollment Committee

Year First Elected: 2014

Goals While on the Council: I have had the benefit of many great teachers. These Chinook elders shared experiences, stories, teachings and opinions with me that I want to see carry forward.

Additional Personal Information:

Gina Rife

janeJane Pulliam -

Birthplace: Puyallup, WA

Current Residence: Bay Center, WA

Current Family Information: married to Ron Pulliam

Family Descendency: Pickernell

Year of Election: 2012

Employment: Self-employeed graphic and web designer. My husband started the business, Nautilus Design, in 1985 and I came on board in 1994. I love my work!

Hobbies: I really enjoy crafting with the craft group in Bay Center but quilting is my favorite.

Committees: Culture Committee and Scribe for the Communications Committee. Tribal webmaster.

Goals While on Council: I want to get more tribal members involved with the tribe. I've been reaching out to people and inviting them to events and encouraging them to volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to get to know other tribal members. I can say from first-hand experience that volunteering has made my life fuller and richer.

I have also been working to encourage our committees to grow and work hand-in-hand with the council. And finally I'd like to see a strong Development Committee in place to ensure our finincial future.

Jeremy WekellJeremy Wekell

Birthplace: Tacoma ,WA

Current Residence: Tacoma, WA

Current Family Information:

Family Descendency: Pickernell

Education:Northwest Indian College

Employment Information and Location: Al'Ta Counseling & Testing. I am the founder of the agency. Our primary focus is on US DOT compliance with drug and alcohol policy. In addition we assist people with accessing drug and alcohol treatment.
Durwood Properties- I have a small apartment building, I like providing a nice home for my tenants.

Hobbies: Tribal activities are one of my favorite hobbies. I really enjoy 1st salmon & the story gathering.

In addition I enjoy most outdoor activities, including hiking camping and canoeing (both Tribal canoeing and hobby canoeing).

Lately I have been really involved with remodeling projects, I find them fun & challenging.

Chinook Committee Involvement:
Health & Social Services since 2005
Tribal Lands Committee, which I formed in 2011

First Year Elected to Council: 2011

Goals While on Council: My ultimate goal is the restoration of federal recognition of the Chinook people. With restoration I would like to see a priority placed on healthcare and education.

Additional Personal Information:I like to be open and available for people to contact me. If you have anything to discuss, please email me: Jeremy

Gary JohnsonGary Johnson Position #8

Birthplace: South Bend, Washington

Current Residence: South Bend, Washington

Current Family Information: Wife: Cristy, Son: K.C. Johnson, wife Kristeen, children, Elizabeth & A.J. Son: Tony, wife Mechelle, children, Mary, Sam, Tahoma, Ferrill, & Maybelle

Family Descendency: Pickernell / Ero (Herioux)

Education: MA Education

Employment Information and Location: Retired. 41 years Educational Counselor & Football/Basketball coaching. South Bend/Bay Center Indian Education Director

Hobbies: Gardening, Sports,& Paddle making

Chinook Committee Involvement: Culture Committee since 1994

Year First Elected: 1971

Goals While on the Council: Unity, Tribal recognition, Tribal Financial security, Building a stronger Tribal community, & Cultural Education

Additional Personal Information: Canoe Family Member