No. 84: Capitol Weekly’s Top 100

Illustration by Chris Shary

84. Lynn “Nay” Valbuena

The Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations, a coalition of a dozen federally-recognized southern California tribes – a mix of both casino-owning and non-gaming tribes – was formed in 1995. The association’s member tribes generated over $2.5 billion in total economic output in 2019 and employ over 16,000 Californians – many in rural and underserved communities. Lynn ‘Nay’ Valbuena, has been the chair of TASIN for 25 years, and is an influential figure in tribal issues, in California as well as nationally. She is viewed within the tribal world as a peacemaker and a canny negotiator, and she plays a significant role in the regular gatherings of tribal officials from across California. She is the great-great-granddaughter of Yuhaaviatam tribal leader Santos Manuel, and was for years the head of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, a major casino-owning tribe in San Bernardino County. Her reputation extends beyond California: She’s a former trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and has been involved in not just gaming issues, but also in women’s rights, social and environmental justice, sovereignty, and income disparity.

Updated Aug. 11, 2020

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