2020 Voters Guide

District 5 Rep. 2
Lisa Callan

Lisa Callan

Prefers Democratic Party

Current State Representative, Callan serves as the Vice Chair of the Capital Budget and Human Services & Early Learning Committees; the House K-12 Education Committee, and she is the former Issaquah School Board Director. She was a lead engineer and project manager at Boeing, and a former consultant managing large scale software development programs for businesses. She has a BS in mathematics with an emphasis on computer science from Northern Arizona University.

Callan does not have a challenger in this election.

Responses to Tribe's Questions

To read about this candidate’s responses to the Snoqualmie Tribe’s questions, click through each question below.

Q1: What do you know about the Snoqualmie Tribe?


The Snoqualmie People are the first people to have lived on and cared for the land and waters in the Puget Sound region since time immemorial. Once as many as 4000 people, you were signers of the Treaty of Point Elliot and have been fighting for your rights and to protect the resources and sanctity of the land ever since. Now you are 500 strong living throughout the Snoqualmie Valley as far west as Mercer Island, and north in Monroe. Today the Snoqualmie Tribe is a strong advocate for the land, water, animal life, and most importantly self-determination over the well-being and thrivability of the Snoqualmie People and their generations to come.

2019 was a very big year to that end for the Tribe. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of federal re-recognition, the positive favor of the Supreme court decision allowing for trust land investment, and the acquisition of the most sacred of land back into their care, Snoqualmie Falls. So many other projects and work are also in motion, from fish passage restoration, Highway 18 safety, to significant support and donations for food and shelter during the huge impact of the coronavirus. Ongoing efforts to protect sacred land, preserve and honor land use, build the land trust for the Tribe, and stabilize funding and resources through the deadly pandemic all show the perseverance and heart of the Snoqualmie People.

Q2: What is your experience working with Tribes?


I have been honored to work with the Tribe since becoming a State Representative for the 5th LD. Working on traffic and safety issues to secure funding for Highway 18 improvements, in particular. I look forward to deepening the relationship and partnership between your sovereignty and the state to further the cultural, goals, and well-being of all the Snoqualmie People.

Q3: What does the ideal government-to-government relationship with tribes look like to you?


It is a partnership where all entities can be trusted and collaborate to meet the needs and goals of the Tribe and your right to self-determination and thrivability of your People and lands. When we all recognize the impact of our individual actions and rights on each other, then we can work together to bring honor, respect, and trust into determining a path forward. This means honoring and recognizing that the past has brought us to today, and our actions of today will impact our generations to come. In question 7 you mention free, prior, informed consent. A true partnership starts there, ensuring all tribes have free, prior, informed consent in the policy making process.

Q4: If elected, what would your Indian Country-related goals be?


My goal is to support the Tribe’s efforts in ensuring self-determination, ensuring you have a seat at the table in matters that impact you, and fully recognizing your sovereignty in state matters.

With my education, human service, as well as my work on local transportation issues, I have a high passion for eliminating the equity gap for the Snoqualmie People in healthcare, education, environment, safety, and economic strength. For my part, this starts by working with you and your goals toward ending the racial and cultural injustice in these areas.

Q5: What is your knowledge of tribal treaties and trust obligations?


I am sure I have much to learn and understand more deeply, but appreciate the argument made by UW Law Professor Robert Anderson in this reference putting forward the struggle that has occurred since treaties were signed and still exists today. Holding the broader trust doctrine to the truth of its original intent is as important as ever as new challenges bring constant threat:

“When the tribes gave up their lands to the United States so there could be non-Indigenous settlements throughout the country, the expectation of the tribes was that they were going to be adequately supplied with resources to continue ways of life,” said Anderson, the Charles I. Stone Professor of Law and director of the Native American Law Center. 

“Some Tribes fought wars – wars that were not successful militarily but lead to over 350 treaties to resolve conflicts – and the expectation was that after the treaties were signed, there would be measures taken to protect the sanctity of tribal resources, health and welfare.”

“The agreement of a trust doctrine between sovereign tribes and the U.S. government set the pace for how tribal lands would be handled: The U.S. Government would hold tribal lands in trust on behalf of the tribes and serve as stewards of resources essential or important to the tribes’ ways of life — including those that fell outside the physical reservation boundaries like access to water. 

This agreement was not voluntary and presents a legal grey area as to the specifics of what must be done to protect tribal resources, which Anderson discusses in detail in “Indigenous Rights to Water & Environmental Protection.”

“The government for many years has not done a very good job, and while they’re getting better, there’s still a ways to go,” Anderson said. “In regard to natural resources, that’s particularly true because of the implication of these off-reservation resources that are not explicitly named as subject to protection. So, you have to rely on this broader trust doctrine.”

Q6: Do you support increasing funding to tribes for services such as health care, cultural resources, and education?


Yes, absolutely. For example, in my bill HB1574 I advocated for categorical eligibility for all 3 and 4 old indigenous children in Early Childhood Education and Assistance Programs, if desired.

Q7: What do you know about free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC)? If elected, would you advocate for these principles to be included in legislation and policy?


FPIC is imperative to ensure equitable policy outcomes. In working with state agencies in regards to land use conversations I start by asking what the Tribe’s input and involvement is. It is imperative for the Snoqualmie Tribe and all tribes to have a seat at the table in legislation and policy.

Q8: What protections do you believe Tribal cultural resources and sacred sites should have?


resources and sacred sites and their historical and their cultural context – I am confident everyone would benefit. Starting from this perspective creates and strengthens the value of these natural treasures. The ability to share your culture and give other cultures a view into your sacred sites, history, and stories, not only protects what is precious to you but endears them to others. Other cultures can then relate your narrative with the treasures of their own culture.

Q9: What do you believe is the best role of government in the fee to trust process for tribes to gain jurisdiction over their traditional lands?


There is much I would like to learn from a historical perspective about the use and application of the fee to trust process. A good starting point for myself is to understand what lands the Snoqualmie Tribe is interested in being in trust. My role is to advocate and work to ensure the implementation of the fee to trust process works to strengthen the Tribe’s capacity in self-determining the welfare of the Snoqualmie People.

Q10: What do you know about the Snoqualmie Tribe's sacred site, Snoqualmie Falls? Do you support the Tribe's right to have a say in any future decisions made on its sacred site, including hydropower licensing?


I do support the Tribe’s right to have a say, both as the land owner and from your historical connection to the Falls. I have every confidence in the Tribe’s ability and core values of respect, trust, and self-determination. I trust that the Tribe will do everything in their power to listen deeply to those who will be impacted by any actions and will work to mitigate and collaborate on the outcome, while meeting the goal of restoring and protecting the sanctity of this sacred site. In my role as an elected I will work along side the Tribe to support the confluence of needs, uses, demands, and desires for this most precious treasure.

Q11: What role, if any, do you feel the State of Washington plays in Treaty Rights disputes?


I firmly believe the treaty trust obligation must be at the center of all policy if we are to truly have justice for the Snoqualmie People. While the courts are often used to argue and settle disputes, the State’s tone and tenor, budget, andlegislative priorities, and active engagement at the federal level, all play a part in defining the strength of treaty rights and honoring the trust of the original intentions of the treaties.

Q12: Do you support the Snoqualmie Tribe as a signatory of the Treaty of Point Elliot having equal rights to its fellow treaty signatory tribes?