Elected from the General Council of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians is a seven-member Tribal Council charged with the responsibility of maintaining governmental relationships, managing tribal affairs and promoting the economic well-being of the Tribe. The Tribal Council, as prescribed in the Tribe’s Constitution, holds office for four years.
Michael Hunter, Chairman
Elected on December 4, 2012
The Chairperson of the Tribal Council presides over and votes at all meetings of the Tribal Council. Subject to the approval of the Tribal Council, the Chairperson exercises the power to appoint all non-elected officials and employees of the Tribal government and direct them in their work, establish such boards, committees, or sub-committees as the business of the Tribal Council may require and to serve as a contracting officer or agent for the Tribe.
Michael Hunter brings unique work experiences to the Coyote Valley Tribe. He previously served as a Tribal Council member and as the General Manager of two nearby casinos. These experiences provided Mr. Hunter with valuable insight into the common operational deficiencies affecting Tribal governments and businesses, as well as the practical skills to implement remedies for the benefit of his Tribe.
Mr. Hunter is currently the Tribal Chairman of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, the Chairman of the Coyote Valley Economic Development Corporation (CEDCO),
and the Executive Director of Coyote Valley Retail Enterprise (CVRE). As Tribal Chairman and leader of the Tribe’s business enterprises, Mr. Hunter is responsible for developing
and overseeing the social and economic strategy and progression of the Tribe. Mr. Hunter’s Tribal Administration has spearheaded various grants, projects, and programs in support of this strategy.
His administration created a General Welfare Program that provides financial assistance to tribal members for basic living expenses. He also created the Tribe’s first Student Recognition Award Program and Tribal Higher Education Program. These two education programs work conjunctively to encourage and acknowledge scholastic accomplishments from elementary to postgraduate levels.
One of the most important accomplishments achieved by Mr. Hunter’s Administration is the recent award of a $1.9 million USDA Water Well Grant. This grant furthers the Tribe’s self-sufficiency and may eventually help the Tribe gain its independence from the diminishing County Water District supply. Once the Tribe’s new water source is paired with a new wastewater treatment system (currently under development), the Tribe will eventually be able to support additional housing for members and further new economic opportunities.
The CEDCO Board of Directors has spearheaded many initiatives that have financially benefited the Tribe. For instance, over the last two years, CEDCO successfully renegotiated, reduced, and paid off over $18 million in debt, and with organizational chart restructuring and with efficient budgeting, the Coyote Valley Casino increased its annual profit by over $2 million dollars.
As the Executive Director of CVRE, Mr. Hunter leads the Tribe’s successful effort to secure a BIA guarantee for a loan of up to $6 million. These funds have been allotted to build a convenience store and gas station. In addition, CVRE will oversee construction of the Tribe’s second gaming facility, which will be located adjacent to the convenience store. The Tribe anticipates funding the new gaming facility with existing casino revenue.
As Tribal Chairman, Mr. Hunter is committed to the Tribe’s cultural, social and economic growth.
Vacant, Vice Chairman
Candace Gonzalez, Secretary
Elected April 24, 2013
The Secretary of the Tribal Council is charged with the responsibility of handling all official correspondence of the Tribal Council, keeping the minutes of all meetings of the Tribal and General Council and certifying to the Superintendent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Central California Agency, the duly elected officers of the Tribal and General Council within fifteen (15) days from the date of any election.
Candace Gonzalez is currently serving her third term as the Tribal Council Secretary. She started her lifelong passion working for and with her Tribe at the young age of 12 years old. By attending and participating in annual United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) conferences held around the country, she was exposed to many avenues of opportunity in obtaining education and leadership. These opportunities propelled her passion to make Native youth a priority and to help all Native people as well as her own at home. At the age of 14, Candace held her first position working for California Indian Manpower Consortium’s Ukiah office as a Receptionist and continued to hold numerous positions throughout the following years with Consolidated Tribal Health Consortium, Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority, Coyote Valley Casino, Coyote Valley Tribal Office and as the MESA/STC Coordinator for the Tribe’s education center. She was then elected as the
Tribal Council Secretary in 2006. She has also served her surrounding communities as well as nationally by actively participating on several boards, committees and with organizations, such as the Consolidated Tribal Health Board of Director’s, National Indian Gaming Association, California Nations Indian Gaming Association, National Congress of American Indians, Native American Advisory Committee for Mendocino College and American Indian Alliance of Mendocino College. Candace is also an active participant of the Coyote Valley Pomo Dancers in which she dances, sings and makes much of the girl’s regalia. She also coaches girls AAU basketball, and is currently a leader for the Tribe’s
4-H Swine Club. She is also the co-founder of the Hope-4-Natives non-profit organization, which hosts an annual Elder’s Christmas Gathering and draws over 500 Native Elder’s from the surrounding reservations and communities. Candace will graduate in the spring of 2016 with an A.S. Degree in Sociology and an A.S. Degree in Social Work. She will then transfer to Humboldt State University to obtain her B.S. in both Sociology and Social Work.
Amanda Pulawa, Treasurer
Amanda Pulawa was born in Riverside, California. She and her family moved to Redwood Valley, California in 1989. Amanda is a Tribal Member of Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indian. She grew up Pomo dancing and playing basketball.
Amanda has been working for her tribe since her senior year in high school and is now currently working as a Gaming Commissioner. When Amanda is not working, she spends time with her family, she coaches her kids’ sports teams, volunteers as Chairperson on her tribes Tribal Election Board, is a Community Leader for Coyote Valley 4-H Club, and last but not least, is the Chairperson of the Parent Committee for the Tribal Education Department.
Amanda will continue to work making a difference for herself, her family, and her Community. You can reach her at .
Melinda Hunter, Member At Large
Elected December 16, 2006
Melinda Hunter was born in Ukiah, California on December 8, 1968, to Priscilla and Michael Hunter Sr. She has lived in the Ukiah/Redwood Valley area for most of her life. She moved onto the Coyote Valley Reservation in 1987.
One of her lifelong interests has always been her Pomo culture. She participates in many cultural events by singing and dancing in the tradition of her ancestors.
Beginning with small jobs with the Tribe’s Summer Youth Program in the early ’80s, Melinda has worked for the Tribe in various capacities, having experience as a Cultural Coordinator, Grant Manager and Chairperson on the Coyote Valley Gaming Commission. Melinda currently holds the position of Health and Human Services Director for the Coyote Valley Health Department.
In 2007 she was elected to the Tribal Council as Member-at-large, and within the same year, received her Associate of Science degree in Business Management from Mendocino College.
Aside from her full-time job, Council, and cultural interests, she is also a full-time mother. Melinda is proud to serve as Member-at-Large on the Coyote Valley Tribal Council and hopes to pass on a proud legacy to her daughter.
John Feliz Sr., Member At Large
Elected December 9, 2014
Elected in 2015 to the Coyote Valley Tribal Council, John Feliz, Sr. serves as a Tribal Council Member to the Tribal government of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians. Council Member Feliz served the Tribe in prior leadership positions as a Tribal Historian and Tribal Secretary to the Tribal Council.
Mr. Feliz has worked for the Tribe over 15 years as a Housing Maintenance Supervisor for the Tribe’s Housing Department. He has dedicated over a decade of service to the Tribe in numerous capacities. He is committed to providing effective leadership and supporting efforts so that tribal members have better employment, housing, health care, and education opportunities. As a previous member of the Tribal Council, Feliz was a part of the leadership team that renegotiated Tribe’s gaming compact with the State of California, which significantly reduced the Tribe’s financial burdens, saving the Tribe millions of dollars in fees paid to the State. In past leadership roles, Feliz represented the Tribe at Tribal EPA Regional functions with other Tribal delegates. Over the years, he has been involved in and worked with Tribal Council members on a number of tribal efforts including the establishment of Tribe’s economic development corporation, a tribal court, and other important tribal endeavors. Council Member Feliz believes in upholding and
supporting the Tribe’s constitution and protecting the rights of all tribal members.
Council Member Feliz grew up in Mendocino County and has lived there his entire life. During his high school career, John Feliz, Sr. was an accomplished sportsman at Ukiah High School, participating in the wrestling and football programs. Later, Council Member Feliz wrestled for Mendocino College. Feliz is an avid NASCAR fan. He currently resides on the Coyote Valley Reservation, where he enjoys helping members of the community. He has two children and five grandchildren.
Richard Campbell Jr., Historian
Elected December 5, 2017
The Tribe’s Historian is responsible for compiling a permanent written or taped account of the history of the Tribe. By interviewing elders and other members and by seeking out any and all other sources of information pertaining to the Tribe, the Historian keeps records of historical, spiritual, and social traditions.
Richard is very proud of his Native American heritage and is very interested in preserving our tribal history, traditions, and beliefs for future generations. He believes that we need to make history more accessible and exciting for our youth. As part of this, he wants to make our culture and history more accessible for our younger generations through social media and a web page. In addition, he wants to facilitate more interactive programs between youth and elders including the recording of elders’ stories.
“As a Historian, I feel it is important to remember our journey; even the bad times are important as they teach us a lesson.”- Richard Campbell Jr.
John Feliz Jr., Tribal Chief
Elected on December 4, 2012
The Chief of the Tribe is elected by the General Council and is the representative of the General Membership in all matters of the Tribe. The Chief is charged with the power of review, approval, or veto of any law passed by the Tribal Council and the facilitation of all petitions submitted by the General Council exercising its power of self-government in compliance with the Tribe’s Constitution.