January 28, 2020
January 30, 2020

Vice Chair Person

Zach Pahmahmie

  • Term: 2016-2020
  • Email:
  • Assistant: Cosette Wahwassuck
  • Assistant Email:
  • P) 785-966-4008
  • F) 785-966-4021
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My name is Zach Pahmahmie. My parents are Cheryl Simon (Kickapoo) and Richard Pahmahmie, Jr. (Prairie Band Potawatomi).  I have lived much of my life on both the Kickapoo and Prairie Band Reservations. I received my undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1996 and my Juris Doctor with an emphasis in Tribal Law from the University of Kansas School of Law in 2001.

As Native Nations move forward in today’s business world, the demand for legal knowledge is becoming increasingly obvious and a necessity.  Rarely, will you see a Tribal Council meeting or any other meeting involving Tribes where attorneys are not present.  Much of the day-to-day business of the Nation involves the use of legal knowledge and expertise, some of those areas include gaming, tribal codes, employment, jurisdiction, taxation, land-into-trust, and tribal sovereignty, just to name a few.  I believe my experience and education in the law will serve the Nation well in the capacity as Vice-Chair in all settings requiring representation on behalf of the Nation.  While serving as Tribal Council Chairperson this legal knowledge proved invaluable to representing the Nation in instances of meeting with local, state, and federal officials.  One highlight of mention was providing oral and written testimony to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on the benefits of Indian gaming.

In addition to serving the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in a tribal government capacity, I have previously worked in the Nation’s gaming enterprise for approximately 7 years.  Both types of experience were valuable in gaining insight from both the government and enterprise perspectives of the Nation.

Like all previous professional experiences, my time as an administrator in a tribal health clinic has further broadened my knowledge of the issues facing tribal peoples of all ages.  As a professional and from a personal vantage point I have seen that one of most critical areas facing the future of all generations is diet and nutrition as well as physical activity.  In my position as Vice-Chairperson I will endeavor to work within our Nation to strengthen the physical health and well-being through health promotion and education.  Without these measures our Nation is threatened with the loss of valuable knowledge of elders and shortened lifespans of the younger generations due to such afflictions as diabetes.  Without a strong and vibrant membership our Nation may be weakened and struggle to exist without preventative actions.

In the role of Vice-Chairperson, I will also advocate for a recommitment of efforts to further economic development.  In order to continue to provide vital services to our membership this will require the necessary funds to carry out the collective goals and objectives of the Nation.  As an example, I view the continued need to strengthen the commitment to education of students of all ages.  In order for our Nation to thrive and persevere we need to provide exposure to all different experiences from a young age and throughout their academic careers to encourage exploration of all career fields.  By continuing the process of learning, no matter at what age, this may inspire and guide our membership to more fulfilling careers and lives.  It is my hope that such efforts will develop the next leaders, both present and future.

I am honored to serve the Nation in the capacity of Vice-Chairperson. I will serve as a partner and advocate with and for the Nation’s membership to continue on a path to prosperity and success in all matters facing our Tribe.