Fawn Sharp, tribal council president of the Quinault Indian Nation, has participated in international climate negotiations in the past, but she says this year she’s eager to see where the conversation in Paris goes but won’t be signing any international climate deals.
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Fawn Sharp, tribal council president of the Quinault Indian Nation, has participated in international climate negotiations in the past, but she says this year she’s eager to see where the conversation in Paris goes but won’t be signing any international climate deals.
Credit: EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Washington's Fawn Sharp elected president of National Congress of American Indians

An indigenous leader from Washington state is the new president of the National Congress of American Indians.

Fawn Sharp, current president of the Quinault Tribe, was elected Thursday with 61 percent of the vote.

She debated three other candidates this week before the election. On the topic of climate change, she said she wants youth directly involved.

"Directly engage them in not only the planning, [but also] the implementation. If we have testimony before Congress our kids should be at the table with us, their voice should be heard, they should be part of every task force we have on climate policy," said Sharp.

Indian Country Today live-streamed the debate online.

Sharp said she has had to declare emergency situations already for the Quinault Tribe because of climate change impacts.

In her acceptance speech, Sharp promised to marshal the resilience of Native Americans to tackle the challenges facing them.

Sharp is an attorney who has worked in private practice and for the Quinault Nation. She'll serve two years as leader of the national congress.