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"Hope Through Caring"

Nespelem District Council Position #2

Where I come from

Born and raised on the Colville Reservation. My parents are Alvina and Ike Cawston. An Elder once told me that I should never forget where I came from, no matter how much education I achieve or where I work. I try and keep this in mind to keep myself grounded. 


This is a picture of my brothers and sisters and myself when we lived downtown Nespelem in the 1960’s. We grew up poor and my dad suffered from alcoholism, but we also had a lot of fluent Elders around us and we grew up eating deer meat, fish, berries and roots. Even though we were poor, I never felt like I was. I enjoyed fishing along the Nespelem Creek and trading our fish for a candy bar at Edna’s Café. I re-member hearing our Elders singing sometimes at the Long house in town or at their sweathouses along the creek. It seemed like everyone had horses and there were times that we rode all day long. We had a strong sense of community, and we always helped each other out. When there was a funeral or dinner somewhere, everyone would bring what food they could to help out. 

old pic of caw kids.jpg

I remember when my grandma would introduce us to some-one, she would recite our family history, both on our fathers and mother’s side. We were taught to be quiet and to sit still at public gatherings. Other Elders & Adults would discipline us but in a good way. Children weren’t allowed to go to funerals or winter dances. These days seemed so simple, and I would do anything to have our children experience these times. I think our children would be better off, if we taught them to be respectful of their Elders and their ways.


I have held several Executive Level positions throughout my career, including Tribal, Federal and State. 

A few include..

  • Language Program Manager,

    • Colville Tribe

  • Self-Determination Specialist

    • Bureau of Indian Affairs

  • Tribal Relations Manager

    • Washington State Department of Natural Resources

      • ​I was instrumental with drafting the "Commissioner's Order on Tribal Relations".  This is the management plan used by Washington DNR that directs how DNR will work with Washington's tribes.  I was also instrumental in co-authoring the tribal "Discovery Pass".  All 29 Washington State tribes commented on both of these documents, prior to adoption.

Given the opportunity, I will utilize my education and experience to grow the Colville Tribes Future.


- Business Administration
- Eastern Washington University.


Ph.D Candidate
- Natural Resources
- University of Washington.

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