On July 12, 2013 the Bruce Wynne Memorial Room in Wellpinit, Washington was filled to capacity with family, friends, community members and Tribal members as Carol Evans was sworn in as a Spokane Tribal Councilwoman for position number 3. This was a historical event since this is the first time that a woman has been sworn into council since the time that Carol’s mother Pauline Stearns was in office.
This was an emotional time for Carol. She took the opportunity to speak to everyone in attendance. “Thank you to everyone who supported me. This is a very important time in my life; I feel good and am very honored to have this bestowed upon me,” she said. “I will honor my oath, and will do this service to the best of my ability. I will strive to keep the tribe moving forward.”
Former Councilman and Elder Jim Wynne got up and spoke. “It is good to see a young woman in council. I came here to see her sworn in and I wish her all of God’s blessings,” he said.
The motivation to run for council was Carol’s strong desire to help the Spokane Tribe. She has always had the aspiration to be a political leader but waited until she felt it was the right time.
“I wasn’t ready before now to run,” she said. “First I had to take care of my children, then my parents. Being a political leader requires time, heart, and I had to develop my inner-self.
“For me I knew I wanted to lead by example and respect all other opinions. My position is to represent all tribal members. To me a tribal leader isn’t something you are elected to; it is something that is earned. I hope to gain the respect as a leader by my actions,” she continued.
When reflecting on when the right time to run for council was she said, “What pushed me was when I lost my parents. I became so strong spiritually. I can listen to criticism about myself. I pray to make a positive impact.”
This position is important to Carol because she sees this as an opportunity to help make positive change for the Spokane Tribal Members and the Spokane Tribe of Indians. She takes her oath seriously as she views it as being a servant to the tribe. “I’m here for the tribe, I am no better than anyone else,” she said. “I am here to make a difference and to move the tribe in a forward direction. This will not happen overnight and there is no simple answer to some of the issues. We can make goals and work on it. We as leaders need to do something to make these goals a reality. We need to listen to the membership as they have many great ideas.”
One aspect that Carol brings to the Spokane Tribal Business Council is “woman-ness.” She commented, “Women are important because they are caregivers, it is called Mother Earth for a reason. I believe that a woman’s perspective is important and may impact decisions. My core values are very important. One of my top principles is respect, which trickles down to everything else like, accountability, open government, etc…. My spiritual-ness; I love God above all else.”
When asked if there was one thing in particular that she hopes to accomplish, she stated, “Bring the Spokane Tribe back together.”
The two most influential women in her life are her mother (Pauline Stearns) and grandmother (Cecilia Abrahamson). Both of these women represented their tribe by serving on their respective Tribal Business Councils. Pauline served on Council from 1983 through 1988, 2 terms and Cecilia served on the CDA Tribal Council from 1970 through 1972, one term. They had the biggest impact on developing her into the person she is today.
“My grandmother Cecilia embraced me as a child and gave me cultural experience. She took me on visits to meet elders of the community. I learned to shake their hand. She always involved me in the culture side of her life,” Evans said.
Carol Evans is the daughter of late LeRoy and Pauline Stearns. Her maternal grandparents are Cecilia and Magnus Abrahamson and her paternal grandparents are LeRoy Stearns Sr. and Catherine Andrews.
Carol obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Professional Accounting and a minor in Economics. She also retains a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Certificate (currently inactive). Her family resides in a small log home near the mouth of the Little Tshimakian Creek along the Spokane River between Long Lake and Little Falls Dams. Along with her husband Terry they have four children: Tara Martin, Jared Evans, Felicia Evans and Cecilia Evans.
One statement that was made at the ceremony summed up the feeling in the room. “I know your mother is in heaven looking down and is doing a Happy Dance.”
A Rawhide Press press release.