Meet Native America: Chairman Rudy Peone of the Spokane Tribe

Rudy Peone

The National Museum of the American Indian continues its "Meet Native America" series with Rudy Peone, the chairman of the Spokane Tribe of Washington:
How did your life experience prepare you to lead your tribe?

I must say that I did not plan to be in this position and would give the Creator and my parents all the credit. I was raised with eight siblings—not rich in finances, but rich in love, respect, and family members who would give the shirt off their backs if another asked. My extended family, including my uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins, as well as my immediate family, shared this foundation.

What responsibilities do you have as a tribal leader?

To lead by example both professionally and personally in all aspects of life. Some people need you to determine and set the example, while others need you just simply to be the example.

Who inspired you as a mentor?

For the majority of my life I would have to say my parents. They seem to be total opposites, yet they have instilled in me honesty, integrity, respect, and perseverance.

As for my professional career, I've had a few mentors that have worked by my side, subordinates as well as supervisors. All of those folks are tribal members who have supported me and nudged me up the ladder to be director of the Tribe’s Natural Resources Department, run for the Tribal Council, and eventually serve as Tribal Council chairman.

Are you a descendant of a historical leader? If so, who?

My family is descended from Okanagan Chief Sia-ko-ken and the brother of Upper Spokane Chief Baptiste Peone.

Get the Story:
Meet Native America: Rudy Peone, Chairman, Spokane Tribe of Indians (NMAI Blog 12/12)

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