Canoe Journey 2023

Tribal Relations

Learn more about what our Tribal Relations division is working on.

The lands and waters within state parks are intrinsically linked with the history, culture and legacy of Indigenous people. As the designated stewards of these resources, Parks recognizes the need to maintain the generational wisdom that has cared for these lands since time immemorial. We also recognize the often troubling or buried history that underwrites these lands.  

Parks is committed to working in partnership with Indigenous people to care for park lands and waters through collaborative stewardship, transparency and respect.  

Tribal relations updates 

In January 2023, Parks created its first Tribal Relations Director position as a new member of the agency’s Executive Management Team. The agency, based on values from tribal leaders, prioritized hiring an enrolled tribal member from tribes in Washington state.  

Tribal Relations Director Jenna Bowman is an enrolled citizen of the Tulalip Tribes. She is working to establish and improve relationships between State Parks and tribal governments. This includes a robust audit of Parks’ entire approach to “tribal relations” by engaging collaboratively with each tribe on best practices for tribal engagement, outreach and consultation. 

Parks is committed to maintaining government-to-government agreements with all tribal nations as outlined in the Centennial Accord, RCW 43.376, Executive Order 21-02, and the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Revised NAGPRA Regulations are found here.  

Washington’s tribes 

Washington’s tribal nations are each separate and sovereign nations with profound connections to parks. There are currently 29 federally recognized tribal governments within our state. Of these, 21 are treaty tribes and eight are executive order tribes (or recognized by Act of Congress). There are also three treaty tribes outside of Washington that have off-reservation treaty rights in the Columbia River and Blue Mountains regions.   

Meet Tribal Relations Director Jenna Bowman 

Tribal Relations Director Jenna Bowman

My traditional name is adzalous, my colonized name is Jenna Bowman. My family is from the Snohomish and Yakama people, and I am an enrolled citizen of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington. I was raised on the Tulalip Indian Reservation where my grandmother raised six children and my mother raised eight. My kiah (grandmother) earned an honorary doctorate for reviving our traditional language and translating it into written form – it was formerly only an oral language. I am the proud mother of nine children – seven natural and two bonus – and even more proud to be a kiah of seven grandchildren, with another expected in January. 

I completed my undergraduate studies at Northwest Indian College where I was recognized as an Indigenous graduate with high honors and was selected to be the commencement ceremony Speaker.  I have master's degrees in Public Safety and Criminal Justice as well as a master’s degree in Native Law from Capella University. I am in the process of completing my doctorate in Philosophy with an emphasis on Indigenous Disparities Within Indigenous Populations. This is more than a love of mine, as I have a child with complex special needs.  

Additionally, I am a member of the National Autism Society, the Lupus Foundation, National Prader-Willi Syndrome Association and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.  I am also a member of the Tulalip Tribal Bar, the American Indian/Alaska Native Health Research Advisory Council and the regional Public Health Advisory Council.  

I am thankful to be able to carry on my traditional teachings some of which include, our language, traditional fishing, traditional native beadwork and traditional native artwork.