Chairman Leonard Forsman of the Suquamish Tribe. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians choose Leonard Forsman as new president

The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians has a new leader for the first time in six years.

Leonard Forsman, the chairman of the Suquamish Tribe, won election as the organization's president on Wednesday. He vowed to keep a close eye on developments in the nation's capital in order to protect the rights of the 57 tribes that belong to ATNI.

“The current climate in Washington D.C. requires us to remain vigilant in our efforts to protect our sovereignty, hunting and fishing rights, health care, education, veterans, sacred places and natural resources from budget cuts and policies and regulatory changes that violate the trust responsibility," Forsman said in a press release. "We must also work with our allies to protect our housing and economic development programs and initiatives."

Forsman was elected during ATNI's fall convention. He defeated Michael Marchand, the chairman of the Colville Tribes, for the position. The Colville Tribes were the official host of the meeting, which concluded on Thursday.

Forsman succeeds Fawn Sharp, who served two terms as ATNI's president but did not seek re-election. She serves as president of her tribe, the Quinault Nation.

Terms of office for ATNI run for three years.