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Colette August

Executive Director

Colette August, Canku Duta Win (Red Road Woman)

Tla’amin First Nation Citizen (Coast Salish), Little Shell Chippewa (Anishinaabe) and has family ties to Lower Sioux Community (Dakota)

Colette has worked at Tahoma Indian Center since 2017. She is the lead liaison to the board of directors, volunteers and staff. She has started an Overdose Awareness Day for Tahoma Indian Center and participated in Na'ah Illahee Fund Neighborhood Capacity Building.  

Colette has a bachelor’s degree from The Evergreen State College (TESC) and is currently enrolled in TESC Master of Public Administration- Tribal Governance. She has worked in human services for over 15 years. She has volunteered at Bridges- A Center for Grieving Children since 2012. She has also started a Survivors of Suicide group in her hometown of Tacoma.

Her drive and passion for community and healing derives from her love of family. She has 5 sons and a granddaughter that motivate her to ensure the community they live in will be a safe and healthy place. Colette loves roller skating, bike riding, hiking, Muay Thai training and photography in her spare time as a way to rejuvenate her to be able to provide her best self to her family and community.

phone: 253-212-3350

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Anesia Smith

Assistant Director

Has completed her AA degree at Pierce College and plans to return to school next fall to continue her education in the medical field. She enjoys spending time with family and outdoors. Her passions are traveling and helping others. 

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Jeffrey Thomas

Board Chairman

Jeffrey Thomas has been a cross-cultural ambassador throughout his life, starting with being a Seattle All-American Indian Dancer performing in the 1964 Seattle Chinatown parade at 6 years old. Jeffrey launched his public service career at 11 years old when he was elected to be the president of the 7th grade class for north Seattle’s Jane Addams Junior High from 1969-1970. He received the first-ever, full-time Native American student scholarship offered at north Seattle’s Lakeside High School during the 1971-72 school year, and then attended Ballard High School for 1 ½ years, whereupon he was invited to enroll as a full-time University of Washington student when he was 16 ½ years old.

Jeffrey received Bureau of Indian Affairs scholarships to attend the UW (for 20 non-stop quarters) - as a pre-med major and American Indian Studies minor during the 5 years occurring between September 1974 and August 1979 - to finally receive his Zoology B.S. degree from the University of Washington in 1985. Jeffrey’s lifetime of cultural links to his local salmon resources (including commercial gillnetting in the Strait of Juan de Fuca at age 12) led to his serving as a fisheries biologist for the Point No Point Treaty Council during 1983, and serving as a professional fisheries biologist for other local tribal fisheries organizations until he joined the Puyallup Tribal Fisheries Department as the Director of their Timber, Fish & Wildlife Program in August 1989. He has been leading the implementation of the 1987 Washington State Timber/Fish/Wildlife Agreement for the Puyallup tribal community (for almost 34 years now), ever since.

Jeffrey has been the continuous co-chair of the Washington State Timber, Fish & Wildlife “Cultural Resources Roundtable” (as of July 1994), and has been the continuous tribal representative upon the Washington Department of Natural Resources “Small Forest Landowners Advisory Committee” (as of year 2000).

Jeffrey’s professional growth includes earning a UW-Seattle Masters of Marine Affairs degree in 2016 (including his thesis subtitled “Developing a Tribal/Salmonids Social-Ecological Systems Model), and joining the Northwest Indian College/Muckleshoot Campus as a co-instructor of the 3-quarter series of cultural sovereignty courses (which all students’ are required to take to receive their degrees there). 

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Patricia Conway-Ortiz

Board Treasurer

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Toby Joseph

Board Secretary

I have a 2 year degree from Tacoma Community college.Previously i worked for GREAT camp for the Puyallup tribal police department and Chief Leschi schools. I work with Consultants for Indian progress and help out where needed for the Indian Center. 

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Melissa Meyer

Board Governor

Melissa Meyer is Tsimshian, a member of the Eagle clan from a northern fishing village in British Columbia, Canada called Lax kw’alaams or Island of Wild Roses. She is a mother of two and she now lives and stewards a 1 acre farm known as Rose Island Farm in ancestral Puyallup territory.

Melissa is a Traditional Plant Practitioner for the Nisqually tribe and life-long student of our plant relatives.  She is a Traditional Plants, Foods & Medicine Educator and collaborates with the Canoe Journey Herbalists to provide weekly traditional plant care to our relatives at the Tahoma Indian Center.

Melissa can often be found hiking the trails and parks of Washington and wild harvesting local plants and weather permitting, swimming outdoors in lakes or the ocean whenever possible!

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John Halliday

Board Governor

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Sharon Gebhardt

Board Governor

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