San Manuel Indian Reservation (Near Highland, Calif.), April 17, 2018 Newly elected Business Committee members were sworn in by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians as the new tribal officers began their new, two-year terms this week. Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena was elected by acclamation while Latisha Casas was elected to the office of Treasurer for the Tribe.
Entering her third consecutive term, Chairwoman Valbuena has been in tribal politics more than 40 years. She remains active in state and national Native American affairs over a career that began in 1974 with her first role as San Manuel Housing Commissioner providing oversight for the housing program on the reservation. Over the past 26 years, Lynn has held the positions of Chairwoman, Vice Chairwoman, and Secretary/Treasurer of the San Manuel Business Committee.
"I am humbled and honored that the people of San Manuel re-elected me as Chairwoman," said San Manuel Chairwoman Valbuena. "Our tribal government continues to move forward in positive directions while meeting the needs of our tribal citizens and providing good jobs and benefits for our 4,600 employees. Our Business Committee members are united in looking out for the best interests of the Tribe and working with the General Council to strengthen our government, community and economic developments that are essential to fulfilling the promise
of self-reliance and sustainability for our Tribe well into the future."
In 2015, Valbuena was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame by the American Gaming Association (AGA). She has served as Chairwoman of the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), a regional tribal organization in southern California established in 1995, since its inception 23 years ago. She is also a former trustee of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, DC.
Lynn currently serves as a trustee for the Autry National Center based in Los Angeles, California, and is serving in her 23rd year as a delegate to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), and her 18th year as a member of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce California, Advisory Council. San Manuel was the first Tribe to join the Chamber and has maintained its membership since then. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Northern Arizona University Foundation, Flagstaff, Arizona. Valbuena served as secretary of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) for 14 years before retiring from the office in 2011. She also served as an officer for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
Latisha Casas was first elected to the office of Treasurer on the Business Committee in 2012 and served two, two-year terms. She has served on the Tribe's Investment Board since it was created in 2008. A graduate of University of Redlands, Treasurer Casas will begin her third term as Treasurer to work on aligning the Tribe's long term investment goals and ongoing revenue generation to sustain San Manuel Tribal Government for generations to come.
"It is a high honor to be elected to the office of Treasurer by San Manuel Tribal Citizens. I made a promise to my grandmother when I was young that I would honor not only her sacrifices but also all those who came before. I made a commitment to be a contributing member of the San Manuel community," said San Manuel Treasurer Latisha Casas. "Therefore, I dedicated myself to furthering my education so I could contribute to my family and Tribe. I am here to serve the Tribe and aid in promoting and protecting our sovereignty and self-reliance. I look forward to working with the Business Committee and General Council on finalizing a plan that will protect the Tribe in perpetuity."
Among the priorities of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is establishing and maintaining strong, mutually-beneficial relationships with other governments and with partners across its aboriginal lands, which encompass the majority of present-day San Bernardino County. The Tribe is also focused on positively impacting the greater community with its contributions to social and economic development for jobs and support for local businesses through the Tribe's purchasing of goods and services.
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