Sauk-Suiattle Tribe names new chairwoman
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:25 PM
Janice Mabee has was selected as the new official chairwoman of the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe by the Tribal Council at its first regular meeting in January. The Tribes reservation is located northeast of Darrington, in the foothills of the Cascades.
Mabee, 60, was born in an old mill cabin in 1946 in the Darrington area. Mabees family moved to the Suiattle River Valley shortly after her birth. Her first home was on the Suiattle River where her parents, Matthew Moses and Ella Mae Bebee, lived with her great-grandparents, Julie and Billy Moses, the last chief of the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe. The family spoke their native language at home.
Mabee is one of the last few remaining Sauk-Suiattle Tribal members who has lived and experienced life in an environment where respect and native teachings were important. As a child she watched as her great-grandfather made shovel-nosed canoes and learned to gather roots, berries and wild vegetables, native to the area. She also learned to gather roots and bark from cedar trees to make baskets. Fishing on the Suiattle and hunting in the Cascades were how they survived. Bathing in the ice cold Suiattle River was routine. Mabee would like to see some of the Indian traditions she was raised with revived, especially the language and respect for elders.
Mabee believes that in this day and age, Tribal leaders are facing difficult challenges and tough decisions. All leaders, including myself, have to protect our treaty territories, rights and future of our people. As Tribal Chairwoman, her priorities include promoting Tribal member education and employment in order for them to become more self sufficient. It is also her goal that the Tribe become an economic contributor to the Darrington community. But it is her greatest ambition to unite the families to work together as one. Mabee feels there is no greater honor than being the Tribes chairwoman and is committed to working hard for the Sauk-Suiattle people who she is proud to be a member of.
Mabee is married to Leonard Mabee and has two children, John Pugh and Cynthia Harris, five stepchildren, 18 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.