SANTA YNEZ, CA – Kenneth Kahn was elected to his fourth term as Santa Ynez Tribal Chairman while Mike Lopez, Maxine Littlejohn, Gary Pace and Raul Armenta were also re-elected to their seats on the Business Committee following a recent vote by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to select its governing body.
The tribe’s Chairman and Business Committee members each serve two-year terms and are responsible for establishing policies and overseeing the legal and business affairs of the tribe while providing for the economic well-being of its members.
With his re-election, Kahn continues his 20 years of service in tribal government. He was first elected to the Business Committee in 2003, becoming the youngest person ever, at age 25, to serve on the tribe’s board. He was re-elected for seven consecutive terms, with stints as Secretary-Treasurer and Vice Chairman, before winning a special election in 2016 to become Chairman.
In addition to his role in tribal government, Kahn is a member of the California Truth and Healing Council, representing the Central District since being appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020. He also serves as Vice Chair for the Native American Rights Fund and he is on the board of directors for Unity Shoppe of Santa Barbara.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve as Chairman for my tribe, and it’s an honor to work alongside this dedicated group of leaders who are committed to ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for our tribal community,” said Kahn.
Lopez returns as the Business Committee’s Vice Chairman. He was first elected to the board in 2015 and is entering his fifth consecutive term. Lopez spent 10 years on the Santa Ynez Gaming Commission before being elected to the Business Committee. He also serves as Vice Chairman for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association’s Executive Committee and is a member of the United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County’s board of directors.
Littlejohn, who has been elected to her fifth consecutive term, will resume her role as Secretary-Treasurer. She was first elected to the Business Committee in 2000 and became Secretary-Treasurer in 2003. Littlejohn left the committee to serve on the Santa Ynez Gaming Commission from 2005 to 2009, then was elected to the Business Committee once again in 2015.
Pace enters his 11th consecutive term. He joined the Business Committee in 2004 by winning a special election and has been a member of the leadership team throughout the tribe’s economic growth over the past 20 years.
Armenta, who first joined the board in 2016 following a special election, returns for his fifth consecutive term. Prior to his ascension to the Business Committee, he served almost two decades on the Santa Ynez Gaming Commission.
The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is located in Santa Barbara County, CA. Its reservation was established and officially recognized by the federal government in 1901. Today, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians remains the only federally recognized Chumash tribe in the nation. The tribe is a self-governing sovereign nation and follows the laws set forth in its tribal constitution.