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, Tribal 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 lead 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.
Patrick Naredo, Tribal Vice Chairman, elected on December 6, 2011
The Vice-Chairperson of the Tribal Council, with the approval of the Tribal Council, in the absence of the chairperson, perform all duties and assume all the responsibilities vested in the chairperson. Upon request of the chairperson, assist in carrying out the duties of the chairperson or such duties as the chairperson may direct.
Patrick Naredo is the Vice Chairman of the Tribe, sits on the Coyote Valley Retail Enterprises (CVRE) as the Treasurer and is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Coyote Valley Economic Development Corporation (CEDCO). As part of the leadership team of the Tribe, Mr. Naredo has played a pivotal role in the recent initiatives of the Tribe to increase productivity. Mr. Naredo has served on the Tribal Council for approximately nine years and brings a heightened level of stability and institutional knowledge to the leadership team.During the Vice Chairman’s nine years serving the Tribe, he has actively assisted the Casino management with important decisions regarding human resource issues, procurement, budgeting and contracting. He brings this business acumen to the development and operation of CVRE’s C-Store and future economic development projects. Mr. Naredo played a vital role in the renegotiation of the Tribe’s Gaming Compact with the State of California. Mr. Naredo also brings a multitude of relevant construction experience to the table that allows him to actively lead and evaluate the C-Store development. Prior to his multiple terms on the Tribal Council, the Vice Chairman held positions in the engineering design field, during which he honed his skills in cross-disciplinary, cross-sector communication and project management.
Candace Gonzalez, Tribal Council 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’s 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.
Kelli Jaynes, Tribal Treasurer, elected August 4, 2009
The Treasurer of the Tribal Council is vested with the responsibility to keep and safeguard all funds under the exclusive control of the Tribe and keeps or causes to be kept an accurate record of such funds. The Treasurer is charged with reporting on all receipts and expenditures to the Tribal and General Council.
Kelli was born on September 30, 1972 in Riverside, California. Her mother, Diane Ortiz, was born in a small cabin on the old Coyote Valley Reservation in 1944. She is descended from Angelina and Henry Campbell. Kelli has fond childhood memories of coming up from Riverside to visit her cousins at Coyote Valley and camping in the middle of the old walnut orchard. She remembers spending hours down at the river with her mom and Great Gram Angelina. Her Great Gram named her bit su sha (meaning “little fish” in Pomo) because of all the time she spent swimming in the river.
Kelli moved to Redwood Valley from Riverside, California in 1983. Kelli graduated from Ukiah High School in 1990 where she began her interest in small business management and advertising as a member of the Distribution Education Clubs of America (DECA) and the Regional Occupation Programs (ROP). She pursued her studies after high school at Mendocino College in Ukiah, California and Mira Costa College in Oceanside, California and plans on resuming her education to pursue her degree in Public Administration and Accounting. Her most recent educational accomplishment was being one of many Native leaders to graduate from the California Tribal College’s Tribal Leadership and Governance Certificate Program.
For the span of three decades Kelli has worked in many capacities for Coyote Valley, starting as a summer youth worker answering phones. She has worked in the Tribe’s education department as a tutor, in the Tribal administration office as an assistant bookkeeper and was honored to work assisting the late Doris Renick, who was then the Chairwoman of the Tribe. Kelli also spent a few years working as the Vault and Cage Department Manager at Coyote Valley Casino where she honored with the Manager of the Year award.
Kelli has culminated and honed a variety of skills by working in the broader Native and local community. She has worked in the offices of California Indian Manpower Consortium and Consolidated Tribal Health Project Inc. as a Certified Perinatal Health Specialist and Community Health Representative. She has also worked for Mendocino County In-home Supportive Services, Mental Health Department, Juvenile Probation and Department of Child Support Services. While employed with the county, Kelli received a glowing commendation from then Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Kristi Furman.
Kelli has served on the Coyote Valley Tribal Council as the Tribe’s Treasurer since 2009. She also serves as one of the Tribe’s delegates to the California Tribal College Leadership Council, Secretary of the Tribe’s Enrollment Committee, member of the Tribal Website Development Committee, co-writer and editor of the Tribe’s newsletter and Executive Treasurer to the Board of Directors for the Tribe’s Section 17 Corporation (Coyote Economic Development Corporation or CEDCO). She has been actively involved in the development, inception and daily business of Section 17 Corporation bringing financial stability to the Tribe and funding for vital programs to tribal members. As a member of the Tribal Council, it is important for Kelli to help develop programs that are relevant to the membership and set up a foundation for success. In her capacity as Treasurer she was successful in developing and implementing the Tribal Tax Code bringing valuable financial resources to the Tribe. She spearheaded efforts to implement a financial literacy program which provides relevant and important information to our young members in hopes of building strong leaders with superior financial skills that will carry on into future generations. She has also been the driving force behind and is particularly proud of the Vocation Education Pilot Program. Through the Vocational Education Program Kelli hopes to bring education opportunities to the membership with courses in construction trades as well as business technologies and hospitality services. Her hope is that this program will allow the Tribe to build and expand the internal skilled labor pool with well-prepared professionals.
Kelli has always been committed to the Tribe, her extended Native family, community and friends she’s made over the years. She is honored to be able to serve them in any capacity.
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 record 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 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 Sr., Tribal Council Member, 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 previous member of the Tribal Council, Feliz was a part of the leadership team that renegotiated the 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 tribal efforts including the establishment of the 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.
Melinda Hunter, Tribal Council 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 Associates 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.