Hon. Denny Hurtado

Former Chairman, Skokomish Tribal Council
Denny Hurtado

Denny Hurtado is former chairman of the Skokomish Tribal Council. Hurtado is former Director of Native Education for Washington State’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, in which capacity he served for 17 years. Previously, he was the Upward Bound Director at the Evergreen State College for nearly seven years. From 1978 to 1991, he was a commercial fisherman and teacher. Hurtado has served on the Skokomish Tribal Council for 19 years. He has held the positions of chairman, vice-chairman, and general council president.

Hurtado has spent the past three decades struggling to end the environmental, cultural, and economic devastation inflicted on the Skokomish River and the Skokomish people by the City of Tacoma’s Cushman Hydroelectric Project. Hurtado was the plaintiff in the Skokomish Tribe’s lawsuit against the City of Tacoma, Skokomish Indian Tribe, et. al. versus the United States of America, et. al., Case No. C099-5606. As a result of the case, state of Washington schools are now required to educate students grades K-12 about the tribes closest to their communities. Students learn about tribal government and history issues that are statewide in nature – of course including the long and heartbreaking history of conquest, treaties, forced removal of Indian children to boarding schools, but also, the recent and inspiring renaissance of tribal culture, sovereign government, and civil rights.

Hurtado received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science and a lifetime secondary teaching credential from the California State University at Sacramento. He received a Master’s degree in School Administration from the California State University at Humboldt. In 2014, he received the Charles E. Odegaard award, which honors individuals whose leadership in the community exemplifies the former University of Washington president’s work on behalf of diversity.

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