Honors + Awards


  • MIDORI Hamilton Award :: Oregon COalition against domestic and sexual violence

Community Engagement

  • Red Lodge Transitional Services :: Board chair

  • Naah Illahee Fund :: Board chair


  • PEACE DEVELOPMENT FUND :: Former Board Member

  • INTERNATIONAL INDIAN TREATY COuncil :: Former Board Member

Tawna Sanchez

Representative Tawna Sanchez is a dedicated advocate and proven progressive who has spent her life helping strengthen the community around her.

Born of Shoshone-Bannock, Ute, and Carrizo descent, Tawna grew up in Portland. Her dad worked at an auto shop on what was then Union Avenue, today Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. She has received a Bachelor’s of Arts from Marylhurst University and a Masters in Social Work from Portland State University.

Earlier in life, Tawna was active in the fight for indigenous and women’s rights. She protested coal and uranium on native reservations. She was a leader of international organizations like the Indigenous Women’s Network and the International Indian Treaty Council. Tawna has always stood up for social justice on the side oppressed and that is the approach she would bring to the Oregon Legislature.

For the past 19 years, Tawna has lived in House District 43 in her home across from Jefferson High School. During that time, she helped co-found the Native American Youth and Family (NAYA) Center. She was the second employee hired and today is the Family Services Director and Interim Executive Director of the organization, which has a $10 million annual budget and employs 120 people. NAYA provides families, native and non-native alike, to improve their lives and strengthen our community with services including early education, health care, workforce training, housing assistance, domestic violence services, and elder care. Many of NAYA Family Center's accomplishments including the creation of an Early College Academy, expansion of early childhood services, affordable housing development, elders support, and building a nationally recognized wrap around service model have been under the leadership of Tawna Sanchez.

A major focus of Tawna’s work has been in the area of domestic violence. Prior to joining NAYA, she was a domestic violence advocate at the Bradley Angle House. Tawna is the founder of a nationally recognized Native American domestic violence intervention and prevention program that has successfully served thousands of Native American families. Tawna has been active at the state level as well, serving on the Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Advisory Board.

Tawna is also a personal and professional leader in the area of child welfare and foster care. Tawna in her own life has helped raise 18 foster kids, kids who attended schools in the District including Humbolt, Sabin, Beaumont, Grant, Jefferson, and Rigler. She has also been active in state policy making, serving on the Oregon Family Services Review Commission and Oregon Child Welfare Advisory Commission.