Jaime A. Pinkham
Native Nations Vice President
Jaime moved to St. Paul to join the Foundation in 2009. However, he describes “home” as Nez Perce Country, an area spread across portions of Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
A forester by education, he has spent a majority of his career protecting Native sovereignty and tribal treaty rights. Prior to coming to the Foundation, he directed the congressional affairs and regional coordination efforts for an intertribal fisheries commission in Portland, OR. Earlier, he was at home with the Nez Perce Tribe where he was twice elected to the Tribal Council serving as treasurer as the Tribe was expanding into gaming. He also managed the Tribe’s natural resource departments where he was involved in wolf recovery, acquiring ancestral lands, water rights negotiations and salmon restoration.
He is a romantic about “wild” places—a love stretching back to his childhood experiences hunting and fishing in the backcountry with his father and grandfather. That love set a land ethic that has led to membership on various conservation boards, and he currently serves on the boards of The Wilderness Society and American Rivers.
He is infatuated with Tija Karklis (a dual U.S. and Latvian citizen) whom he met in Alaska while she was interning with a U.S.-Canada native organization devoted to protecting the Yukon River basin. “I enjoyed listening as much as I enjoyed looking at her” he recalls of the day they met. “During lunch I asked her to tell me her story.” Tija moved to her homeland to take part in the independence movement to break Latvia free of Soviet rule. “She spoke of reclaiming their rights of self-rule, their land and their ancient language.” It was a familiar tone which is even summed up in one of the Foundation’s goals: “nation-building.” He and Tija married in 2005 and still make trips to the Yukon to support the coalition of Native villages.
He has two daughters, Lindsay and Alex, and two granddaughters, Tatum and Harper.
When he is home you can find him in the mountains, down by the river, or singing the old songs with the Nez Perce Nation Drum.