The Pacific Northwest has lost a treasure with the passing of Swinomish tribal elder Lorraine Loomis.
Many of us at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) knew Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Chairperson Lorraine Loomis personally. She was generous, warm, and wise. She welcomed the chance to know others and their experiences, and in turn was willing to share her own experiences and those of her fellow tribal members.
Chairperson Loomis started her career in fisheries management shortly after the landmark Boldt Decision. She has been the Swinomish tribal fisheries manager since 1975 and brought extensive experience in fisheries management throughout the region. With the passing of Billy Frank Jr. in 2014 she was elected Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Chair.
As a result, each year I had the privilege to work with Lorraine as she coordinated tribal participation in the annual North of Falcon salmon season development process. Through challenging and meaningful deliberations spanning North of Falcon and tireless efforts to conserve resources for future generations, she held the respect of countless WDFW staff, and myself. Together we shared a leadership commitment to strengthening relationships and collaboration. I am honored to have had the chance to work alongside her.
This is a loss that we at WDFW feel deeply in our hearts. Lorraine will be missed by myself, and so many others.
I encourage members of the public to take the time to learn more of her story – it will inspire you as it does me.