BIOGRAPHY OF LYNN “NAY” VALBUENA
SAN MANUEL BAND OF MISSION INDIANS
Lynn “Nay” Valbuena is a tribal member of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians who is currently serving a two-year term as the Vice-Chairwoman of her tribe. She was elected in April, 2008. Lynn has held many different elected positions within the Tribal Government, having served four years as a Tribal Councilwoman and as Tribal Chairwoman from 1994 to 1996.
During her tenure, Lynn was responsible for the Tribe’s ongoing governmental activities, including the maintenance and operation of reservation water infrastructure and utilities, housing, education and scholarship assistance programs, law enforcement issues, EPA standards, road construction and maintenance, and future economic diversification and development planning.
TRIBAL ALLIANCE OF SOVEREIGN INDIAN NATIONS (TASIN) – 1995 to present
Lynn currently is serving her 13th year as Chairwoman of the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), which includes 12 federally recognized tribes located within the Federal Central Judicial District within the State of California. Those counties include Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Orange, Los Angeles, and Ventura. Lynn is a key-decision maker in the development and implementation of TASIN’s legislative strategies in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
TASIN’s mission is to promote the tribal sovereign governmental rights, cultural identity and the interests of those tribes located in the Central District of California. TASIN also works to build public support for Native American issues and plays an active role in communicating these issues to political leaders, regulatory officials and the public.
NATIONAL INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION (NIGA) – 1997 to present
Recently re-elected to serve her sixth two-year term (12 years total) as Executive Secretary of the Washington, D.C.-based National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), Lynn acts as liaison between the association and its 184 member tribes comprising the largest organization of gaming tribes in the country.
NIGA’s mission is to protect and preserve the general welfare of Native American tribes striving for self-sufficiency through gaming enterprises in Indian Country and to advance the lives of Indian people economically, socially and politically.
In 2003, Lynn received from NIGA the prestigious John Kieffer Award, which honors outstanding Native Americans for their exemplary service and dedication to the organization’s mission and purpose.
NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AMERICAN INDIANS (NCAI) – 1991 to 2007
Lynn served 16 years as San Manuel’s tribal delegate to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). As such, she often travels to Washington, D.C. to ensure Native American interests are properly represented on the federal level. NCAI is the
oldest and largest tribal government organization in the United States with over 250 member tribes and thousands of individual members from throughout the nation.
NCAI’s mission is to protect and strengthen the sovereignty of Indian Nations, promote “government-to-government” relationships between Indian Nations and other governments, protect Indian and Native traditional, cultural and religious rights, and promote the common welfare and enhance the quality of life of Indian and Native peoples throughout the country.
AMERICAN INDIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF CALIFORNIA (AICCC) – 1999 to present
Lynn is in her ninth year as a member of the Advisory Council to the Board of Directors for the American Indian Chamber of Commerce, an organization that provides opportunities for networking and support of American Indian business in California. In 2001, the Chamber presented Lynn with a prestigious “Warrior Award” for her leadership in Indian Country.
AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER - 2007 to present
Recently appointed, Lynn is serving her first year as a Board of Trustee for the Autry National Center located in Los Angeles, CA. The Autry is an intercultural history center that celebrates the American West through three important institutions: The Southwest Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of the American West and the Institute for the Study of the American West. The Autry National Center was established in 2003.
The primary mission of the Board of Trustees is to govern, advise, assist, support, encourage, develop, expand and promote the Autry National Center.
SAN BERNARDINO VALLEY LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND, INC. – 1994 to 2006
Lynn served 12 years as Executive Secretary of the Board of Directors for the San Bernardino Valley Lighthouse for the Blind. SCVLB is a school offering employment, support, training and other essential services for blind or visually impaired adults and children.
RIVERSIDE-SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY INDIAN HEALTH, INC. (RSBCIH) – 1998 to 2006
Lynn served eight years on the Board of Directors of RSBCIH as a delegate for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Established by a consortium of ten tribes, the purpose and mission of the RSBCIH is to provide a comprehensive, culturally appropriate rural health care system offering the highest quality health services to Indian people residing in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in California.
CALIFORNIA NATIONS INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION (CNIGA) – 1996 to 2000
Lynn served as both elected Secretary and Vice-Chairwoman of CNIGA. She also served on CNIGA’s Executive Committee and as an appointed delegate of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. CNIGA was founded in 1988 and is the largest regional Indian gaming association in the country. Its mission is to protect and preserve the sovereign rights of federally recognized Indian tribes.
NATIVE AMERICAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE (NAAC) – 1994 to 2000
Lynn served as Chairwoman of NAAC, a committee formed to consult with the University of California at Riverside to preserve and advance Native American studies and research at the university.
YMCA – SAN BERNARDINO – 1994 to 1998
Lynn is a former member of the Corporate Board of Directors for the YMCA of San Bernardino and acted as Chairwoman of its annual Children’s Christmas Parade.
In March of 2005, during “Women’s History Month”, Lynn was honored by California Assemblyman Joe Baca Jr. (62nd District) as “a woman making history” and was recognized for her dedication to community service.
In 1996, Lynn was recognized as one of California’s “Women of the Year” by the State’s 62nd Assembly District, Assemblyman Joe Baca Sr., for her outstanding service to the local communities and to the state of California. The recognition from the floor of the California Legislature made her the first Native American woman in California history to receive such an honor.
In May of 1996, Lynn was selected and honored as one of the Inland Empire Business Journal’s “Business Women of the Year.”
As a member of the San Manuel Tribal Government, Lynn was part of a historic effort to establish Native American Day, the first Native American holiday in California celebrated the fourth Friday of September every year.
After earning her business degree in 1974, Lynn began her public service career as Secretary of the San Bernardino Indian Center. She was later promoted to Assistant Executive Director in 1975.
In 1977, Lynn enjoyed a 16-year career with the San Bernardino Police Department, where she utilized her many skills as a stenographer and court officer. She later successfully completed the basic training and self-defense programs necessary to work as a Police Assistant.
After receiving additional training in public speaking and information dissemination, she became the Department’s Public Information Officer.
Today Lynn remains extremely active and is a highly sought-after speaker, maintaining a busy schedule of engagements with numerous groups and organizations throughout California and the United States.
Lynn is married to Stephen Valbuena and is the proud mother of Rich and Sabrina and grandmother of Cody, Chloe and Leilani. She enjoys the outdoors and spends her free time relaxing with her many sewing projects.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 March 2010 00:18