Former Colville Business Council member Janet Nicholson in 2018.

Janet Louise Nicholson, 66, of Coulee Dam, WA, passed away on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. Janet was a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and a former member of the Tribal Business Council.  Janet was the daughter of Isaac and Marie Covington Wak Wak.  Janet was born on August 21, 1954 in Nespelem, WA.  Janet’s children are William Nicholson, Buffy Nicholson, and Robert Lonebear.  She was preceded in death by several brothers and sisters.  She is survived by four sisters,  Eliza Palmer, Pearl Sammaripa, Joan Sammaripa and Nina Wak Wak, and by two brothers, Bobby Wak Wak and Sam Wak Wak.  Janet is also survived by many grandchildren, nephews and nieces.  Janet was a member of the Sacred Heart Church at Nespelem and the Seven Drum or Washat Longhouse religions.  

Janet was a member of the Colville Tribes Business Council for just one term.  However, because of Janet, many of our tribal Elders will live a better life.  She was successful with lobbying Washington State legislators to pass “the Nursing Home Bill” which will increase the Colville Tribes’ encounter rate to provide future revenue increases to the Convalescent Center.  

Janet also worked very hard to lobby for the Colville Tribes to be selected for the Indian Health Service’s (IHS) Joint Venture Construction Program, resulting in the program assisting with the new Omak health care outpatient facility.  IHS will partner with the tribe for the construction project, meaning the tribe constructs the facility and then leases it to the IHS at no cost for 20 years. Congress funds the Colville Tribes’ IHS to provide staffing, operations and maintenance.

Janet spent most of her career working in real estate services for the Bureau of Indian Affairs here at Nespelem, at Portland, OR and at Albuquerque, NM.  Janet’s leadership, wisdom, and vision are going to be missed. She cannot be replaced.

A family wake with a small gathering of Janet’s family took place on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, followed with her burial in the Little Nespelem Cemetery of Nespelem, Washington. Janet’s family will have a memorial and celebration of her life in the future.  On behalf of the Colville Tribes, we wish her family peace to bring comfort, the courage to face the days ahead and loving memories of their mother and grandmother to forever hold in their hearts.

Rodney Cawston, Chairman

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

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