Today, Glenn is a conservation advocate and a steward of the land and water. His extensive experience in community service and unwavering commitment to protecting Neah Bay’s forests and waters make him a uniquely qualified leader for The Nature Conservancy in Washington. He is a proud member of the Makah Tribe, a people who have inhabited the bountiful Neah Bay — the farthest northwest point of the Olympic Peninsula — for over 3,500 years as skilled mariners. Makah belong to the Nuu-cha-nuluth family of tribes, which are a part of the Wakashan-speaking people. Glenn was elected as a Makah Tribe Councilman in 2021 and sworn into office in January 2022.
“My job is to hold the U.S. federal government accountable for the treaty rights secured for the Makah people in the Neah Bay Treaty of 1855,” he said. The Makah ceded 300,000 acres of their territory to reserve the rights protected in the treaty.
During his tenure, Glenn works with his fellow council members to marry ancient land management systems with new sustainability technology, such as ensuring a 40-year plan for reseeding forests used in timber logging and creating a system that prevents salmon overfishing. He is also part of a planning committee to mitigate the effects of climate change and move critical Tribal infrastructure away from tsunami zones to prepare for future earthquakes.
“My great-grandfather said that we have to walk in two different worlds,” Glenn said. “We have to co-mingle the Makah way with the modern. A strong cultural value [he] taught us is never to take more than we need — this is a value that the entire Tribal council embodies. We deeply value the place we call home and work to ensure our cultural values are a pillar in our decision-making.”
Drawing wisdom from the teachings of his ancestors, Glenn acknowledges the profound significance of historical knowledge, particularly derived from the natural world. He credits early teachings, such as learning from animals as a glimpse into the past and a path forward into the future. “We learn as children to think about how the animals live, where they go and what they eat to become attuned to the cycle of nature. Everything is dependent on each other. My people enhance and contribute without disrupting nature as much as possible because we want to coexist with the land and sea. Most of our tools are multifunctional, our longhouses were movable and modular, and they required fewer resources to make. We continue that level of versatility and thoughtfulness today.”