Currently serving term
09-01-10 through 09-01-13
Chris Mercier has 19 blog posts
Chris Mercier was born June 30, 1975, in McMinnville, Ore., to Bryce and
Patricia Mercier. He spent half his life in Salem, where he graduated
from North Salem High School in 1993.
He attended the University of Oregon in Eugene, where he graduated in
1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism-News Editorial. He also
attended the University of Hawaii-Hilo for a semester, as well as the
University of New Orleans and Pontifica Universidad Catolica del
Ecuador, also for one semester each.
Chris has worked as a bartender, librarian, cage cashier, in Seattle
coffee shops and even had a very short stint working for a fertilizer
company. He also worked at Spirit Mountain Casino three different times
over an eight-year span.
He was a regular contributing writer to the Tribal newsletter, Smoke
Signals, in 1996 and again between 2000 and 2002. He also has been
published in the Eugene Daily Emerald and McMinnville News-Register. In
2001, he won an award from the Native American Journalists Association
and three more NAJA awards in 2002.
“On a personal note, I would like to eventually return to writing,” he
said. “I don’t intend to make Tribal Council a career, which is why even
after having served, my support of term limits hasn’t waned.”
He was elected to Tribal Council in September 2004 and re-elected in
2007. He served as Tribal chairperson during the 2006-07 Tribal Council
“Why I ran for Tribal Council? Believe it or not, few days go by that I
don’t ask myself that same question, although with a few different
“To put it mildly, I was concerned with the overall direction of the
Tribe. Certain events and revelations to me had raised some visible red
flags that I think hinted at greater and perhaps graver problems. I do
not by any means intend that as a criticism of previous Tribal Council
members, but that is genuinely how I felt, and a lot of my suspicions
“In light of what I’ve learned on Tribal Council, my biggest realization
is that in order for our Tribal government to operate effectively, we
have to operate openly and with a high degree of transparency. We have
to make a concerted effort to keep our membership educated, so they can
in turn give us informed input on major decisions. I think some
improvements have been made in those areas, but we are far from
fulfilling our potential. Every time that a Tribal member has to stand
up in a council meeting to ask a question, especially one based on
rumor, that means we haven’t done our job.”
Chris likes to travel in his spare time. After college, he spent almost
six months backpacking through Europe. He made it as far south as
Morocco and as far east as Turkey, where he was drugged in Istanbul,
robbed and forced to live in a hostel and wear the same clothes for two
He has also traveled to Thailand, returned to Europe and visited South America.
Chris currently lives in Grand Ronde. His hobbies include the
aforementioned traveling, reading, watching movies, cooking and surfing
“A personal goal is to be in good enough shape to join the Tribal team for the Hood-to-Coast run next year,” he said.