Tribal chair, author to discuss contemporary Indian issues
PULLMAN, Wash. - Michael O. Finley, chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (CCT) and finalist for the Washington State Book Awards in 2009, will speak at noon Wednesday, Feb. 1, in the CUB junior ballroom at Washington State University.
"Contemporary Pathways in Indian Country” will consider issues confronting Native Americans in the United States, particularly from the perspective of those whose ancestral homes are in Eastern Washington.
In 2009, at age 30, Finley was the youngest chairman ever elected by the CCT. He is a member of the Colville Business Council, the governing body for the 9,300-plus member CCT. The tribal reservation in northeast Washington spans more than 1.4 million acres.
Finley is chairman of the board of the Intertribal Monitoring Association for Indian Trust Funds and is involved in numerous government-to-government negotiations with federal and state officials concerning jurisdictional matters, natural resources, economic development, transportation, trust reform and other issues. He works to improve and expand business opportunities through tribal corporations.
He also works with programs for tribal youth, focusing on improving their physical and spiritual health, educational opportunities and knowledge of their history and culture.
Finley earned an associate of arts degree from Spokane Community College and a bachelor’s in history, minor in American Indian studies and master’s in history from Eastern Washington University. His master’s thesis, "Indigenous Legacy: Chief Moses, Skolaskin and Joseph’s Destiny to the Colville Reservation,” won the John Fahey Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Thesis in the Field of American West and Pacific Northwest History at EWU.
He is co-author of "Finding Chief Kamiakin: A Life and Legacy of a Northwest Patriot,” published by the WSU Press in 2008, which was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award in 2009.
The presentation is sponsored by the WSU Department of History, the Columbia Plateau/Berry Fund, Columbia Endowed Chair and Pettyjohn Fund.