Mourning the loss of Johnson Meninick
December 3, 1933 - April 19, 2020
It is with profound sadness that we recognize the passing this last week of Johnson Meninick. Johnson was a member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and the great grandson of Chief Meninock, one of the 14 signers of the Yakama Treaty of 1855. He was also past Tribal Council Vice Chair, past Tribal Council Chairman, Tribal Associate Judge, manager of the Tribe’s Cultural Resource Program, a recognized ceremonial leader, respected Elder, and inductee into the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Johnson’s life and career exemplified his commitment to the Yakama Nation’s cultural heritage, Washington’s deep archaeological and cultural heritage, and Native American rights.
Johnson was instrumental in the creation and articulation of tribal cultural perspectives along the Columbia and Snake Rivers as part of the Federal Columbia River Power System Cultural Resources Program, which worked with multiple federal agencies and tribal governments since the early 1960s.
Johnson also played a key role in the formation of the essential federal laws protecting archaeological sites, Native American burials, religious freedom, and Native American Treaty rights, as well as environmental and endangered species protections.
Additionally, Johnson was the voice and presence of the award winning anti-vandalism video produced by TVW in 2012. Johnson’s work and efforts at protecting sacred sites has been viewed on YouTube across the world.
It is with a profound sense of loss that we honor his legacy.