|August 8, 2013
Tachini Pete named Program Director of Seattle based foundation
By Lailani Upham
Potlatch Fun Program Director Tachini Pete is outside his office on Tuesday morning, which is located on First Avenue in downtown Seattle. Pete says Seattle is a great city to live in, with coffee shops on every corner. There are no objections to city life, he says. (Courtesy photo)
SEATTLE — Tachini Pete, Salish/Dine, has been named the new Program Director for the Seattle-based foundation, the Potlatch Fund.
The Potlatch organization formed in 2002, is a leadership development organization serving Native communities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
The Potlatch was founded by tribal organizations that were concerned about the disparity of poverty, unemployment and disease in Native communities. They aimed to help develop and empower leadership and make the best use of tribal resources.
Since then, the foundation has conducted over 228 training workshops; graduated 42 emerging leaders from an intensive training program in nonprofit management and leadership; allocated more than $1 million in grants; and honored 28 individuals and organizations for leadership and philanthropy.
Pete was raised on the Flathead Reservation and Navajo Reservation with strong values from both tribes.
He is the father of four children, sons: Tachini, Jr., 22; Kayenta, 18; Staan, 12; and daughter, Stsa, 15.
Pete has been enthusiastic learner and teacher of the Salish language since 1994.
Pete’s education, experience and accomplishments include: a Certificate’s of Completion in Automotive Technology from Wyoming Technical Institute; Salish Cultural Leadership from Salish Kootenai College (SKC); Associate’s degrees in Native American Studies and Bilingual Education from SKC. In 2001 Pete graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Montana Western and in 2010 he graduated from Gonzaga University with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.
His work pursuits include a small business selling Native drums online at Tachini Drums (www.tachinidrums.com), teaching, curriculum development, and in 2002, Pete lead and co-founded the non-profit organization Nkwusm Salish Language Revitalization Institute up until December 2011.
His other accomplishments include publication of the first modern Salish language translation dictionary in 1998, followed up with a more comprehensive 816 page second edition called, “Medicine for the Salish Language,” (SKC Press) with thousands of entries published in 2010.
In a recent interview with Char-Koosta News, Pete shares his view on leadership and his new journey of change:
• What drew you to apply for the position?
“I was going to apply for a Native Arts grant with the Potlatch Fund when I saw the position announcement. I thought this was a perfect opportunity for me to use my skills and experience working in language revitalization and non-profit management. The most appealing thing about the position was that I would be able to work with many organizations over a broad region.”
• What is your role as a program director?
“My main role is to refine and redesign the workshop trainings to better meet the needs of organizations and tribes in the four state region of Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. I bring to Potlatch Fund my network of Montana, Idaho and Washington Native language efforts.”
• When did you start?
“I started right at the end of June.”
•What can you tell us about the Potlatch and the contribution to pacific tribes and the Flathead tribes?
“The Potlatch Fund has given more than a $1 million to Tribal Nations and Tribal communities in the Northwest. Specifically Flathead Reservation organizations that received grants include The People's Center, AlterNative Soulutions, Native American Language Teacher Training Institute, Salish Kootenai College, and in the Spring 2013 cycle the Salish Institute.”
• What do you conceive leadership to be?
“I believe a great leader has passion to achieve a collective goal and holds a long-term vision to bring the resources together to accomplish it. A leader has patience and wisdom to see beyond fray of short-sightedness as stay the course. Above all a great leader takes great pride in seeing others succeed.”
• What is your leadership style in managing successful projects?
“Managing successful projects requires creativity in creating and executing plans and establishing efficient and effective systems for completing objectives and accomplishing goals. I like to bring together a team, invest in their development and the necessary resources to implement creative ways for accomplishing project's goals. If you invest in, develop and match a team member's skills to the job a project will come together great results.”
• Can you name a person who had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? How and why?
“Both of my parents, Diana Cote and Roy Pete, are kind to all people. They have great respect for humanity and the potential that all possess. Both are extremely resourceful. I tend to be very resourceful and creative in solving complex problems. I see the good in all things. There is always something to learn from every event, every person.”
• What do you think is the most important role at Potlatch?
“The most important role is for the organization to inspire philanthropy in Northwest Indian Country. By educating foundations and donors about unique needs of Native American tribes and organizations funding to our communities will increase.”
• Can you share in your perspective what Potlatch is?
“The Potlatch is generosity to your community, selflessness, sharing your knowledge, wisdom and stories. It is about the collective uplifting of community spirit and a close relationship with one's heart.”
• How are you adapting to Seattle life?
“If I have to live in the city, Seattle is a great one to live in. So far I have no complaints, coffee shops on every corner, restaurants of every kind, and fresh seafood. Did I say crab legs and salmon?”
For more information on Potlatch Fund visit www.potlatchfund.org.