Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Indian Nation in Taholah, Washington and of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, was presented the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Merit Award, October 18 from the Gonzaga University Alumni Association.
The award is the highest honor bestowed by the alumni association, according to Bob Finn, director of alumni/university relations at Gonzaga. He said the university was honored that Sharp returned to the campus to accept it, noting, “We know how busy she is.”
The alumni association selects recipients based upon their “overarching commitment of service to others,” according to Finn.
Sharp said some of her best memories and most challenging experiences came from her time as a Gonzaga student. “I hope that in accepting it I can help inspire both tribal and non-tribal students to stay in school and work hard to achieve the best education possible. I am highly appreciative to Gonzaga University and its alumni association for everything they have contributed to my life.”
Sharp graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gonzaga in 1990, at the age of 19. She received her juris doctorate from the University of Washington in 1996 and received an advanced certificate in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University in 2003.
In addition to being president of the Quinault Indian Nation and of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, she is a trustee of Grays Harbor College, vice president of the Northwest division of the National Congress of American Indians, and chairwoman of the Interior Department’s Indian Trust Commission and the Indian Health Service Contract Support Costs Workgroup.
In her career, she has served as lead counsel, Quinault Indian Nation; associate judge, Quinault Tribal Court; administrative law judge, state Department of Revenue, Tax Appeals Division; and counsel, Phillips, Krause & Brown. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Sharp worked for the CIA and the state Department of Corrections.
She has been a frequent speaker and panelist in the areas of tax policies and procedures, tribal taxation, tribal regulatory jurisdiction, state-tribal relations, and federal Indian policy and rules of evidence for or on behalf of the National Intertribal Tax Alliance, U.S. Department of Justice, National Indian Gaming Association, and the state departments of Revenue and Corrections.
She and her husband, Dan Malvini, have a son, Daniel Malvini II.