State House of Representatives passes Kretz resolution honoring Mel Tonasket

'Mel leaves behind a legacy of helping the lives of his people with compassion and integrity,' says Kretz

The Washington State House of Representatives recently passed a resolution honoring longtime tribal leader Mel Tonasket as he approaches retirement.

The resolution, House Resolution 4644, was sponsored by Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda.

“Mel Tonasket has been a vital resource to local, state, national and international elected officials for decades,” said Kretz.  “For us locally he's been a trusted voice and a link to the Colville Business Council on so many issues it's hard to count.  His guidance on how proposed legislation might impact the tribes has always been just a phone call away and has always been spot on.”

Tonasket has served in various official leadership positions with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation since 1970, including Chairman and Vice Chairman.  He served as the President of the National Congress of American Indians where he led the Colville Tribes' successful efforts against termination.  He has also represented the United States Tribal Governments at the World Council of Indigenous Peoples and at the Inter-American Indigenous Conference in Brazil.

Kretz's resolution lists many of Tonasket's accomplishments and urges the state House to honor him for his “tireless vision and passion” for “unprecedented economic prosperity, social reform, and communal hope not only for the Colville Tribes, but also for local surrounding communities.”

“Mel leaves behind a legacy of helping the lives of his people with compassion and integrity,” said Kretz.  “He's a fighter, through and through.  I'm privileged to be able to have the state House acknowledge his achievements and life of service with this resolution.  But I'm even more honored to call him a friend.

“I know Mel is officially retiring soon, and he deserves to sit back and 'grow fat,' as he likes to say.  But I also know that if we run into a situation where we need to hear his thoughts or perspective, he's available,” said Kretz.  “I think as long as he's breathing he's going to be willing and able to provide some insight and guidance.”


Washington State House Republican Communications