Lynn “Nay” Valbuena says she looks to continue the work initiated by the San Manuel Indian ancestors generations ago during her speech upon being elected to the office of chairwoman for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians on April 15.
Valbuena, who served as chairwoman from 1994 to 1996, returns to the chairwoman seat following serving as vice chairwoman from 2008 to 2012 according to a San Manuel press release.
Valbuena has played an active role in state and national Native American affairs since 1974 when she took on her first role as San Manuel’s housing commissioner. In the commissioner capacity she oversaw the housing program on the reservation. The release states she has served as chairwoman of the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN) for the past 19 years. TASIN is a “regional tribal organization in Southern California whose purpose is to advance tribal government issues with local, state and federal governments.”
“I am humbled by this election to lead the people of San Manuel,” Valbuena said. “The future of our tribe requires that we continue the work initiated by our ancestors generations ago to ensure not only our survival, but also to maintain our cultural strengths as well as a commitment to progress in an increasingly complex world. I am firmly committed to these principles.”
Valbuena also brings a 16-year career with the San Bernardino Police Department, where she began as a stenographer and court officer before moving to police assistant and then the department’s public information officer.
She continues to serve on the board of trustees for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indians in Washington, D.C.; as trustee for the Autry National Center in Los Angeles; and as a delegate to the National Congress of American Indians (23rd year); along with being on the Advisory Council for the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California for 15 years.
She has served on several California organization boards, including: the San Bernardino Valley Lighthouse for the Blind, Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health, the Native American Advisory Committee – UC Riverside, and YMCA of San Bernardino.
The chairwoman is married to Stpehen Valbuena and is the proud mother of Rich and Sabrina and grandmother of Cody, Chloe and Leilani.