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Cleveland is New Chairwoman of Quileute Nation

QUILEUTE, Wash. – Bonita Cleveland was recently elected chairwoman of the Quileute Nation by her fellow members of the Tribal Council.

Other officers: Tony Foster, vice chairman; Carol Hatch, treasurer; Deanna Hobson, secretary; Lonnie Foster, member at large.

Cleveland succeeds Anna Rose Counsell-Geyer, who retired from the council. Counsell-Geyer led the Quileute Nation through a host of challenges and changes brought by the “Twilight” series of books and films; the town of Forks and the Quileute reservation are settings for “Twilight,” and the number of visitors to the area have skyrocketed.

Among the top items on Cleveland’s agenda: Working to see passage of federal legislation that would transfer 772 acres of Olympic National Park land to Quileute. The transfer would enable Quileute to move its administration offices, elder center, school, and some homes out of a tsunami zone; and would resolve a 50-year boundary dispute with the national park. The bill, H.R. 6527, was introduced Dec. 16 by Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Port Angeles.

Quileute is a nation of about 750 people. The nation owns Oceanside Resort on First Beach, which accommodates visitors who come for whale watching in the spring; fishing, hiking and surfing in the summer; and storm watching in the fall and winter. Quileute Days, a weekend cultural celebration with arts and crafts displays, fireworks, horseshoe and softball tournaments, salmon dinner, and sharing of traditional dances and songs, is in July. Quileute also owns a hatchery, marina, RV park and store.