Spokesperson Mary Tarango

Mary Tarango
Traditional Court Spokesperson

Spokesperson Mary Tarango

Personal Background

Kani Oyasett Mary Tarango. I am the great, great, granddaughter of Alec Blue, a well-known Nisenan spiritual man in the valley during the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. His daughter, Annie Blue McKean, was my great-grandmother, an original distributee of Wilton Rancheria. Her daughter, Irene McKean Daniels, was my grandmother. I am the eldest of the six children that my father, Alvin Daniels, Sr. and my mother, Bernice Gomes had together. My mother allowed my father to raise me and my siblings to learn our Indian traditional ways and culture. I am a traditional singer, dancer and captain of one of the first all-women handgame teams in California. All of this has given me a foundation of knowing who I am, where I come from and where I’m headed in my journey of life.

I’m proud to say that I’ve been married to my husband, Jesus Tarango, Sr., for 52 years and I am the proud mother of four accomplished adult children and four grandchildren. My children have all completed higher education and have made their mark in life by serving their tribal community. 

Tribal Experience

I have been involved with Wilton Rancheria’s journey of becoming a recognized, self-sufficient tribe since the early 1990s. I was selected to be the Spokesperson of the Tribe in seeking restoration of federal recognition. I took this appointment very seriously and to heart and fought relentlessly for 22 years to have Wilton Rancheria’s termination overturned. Following the restoration of our federal recognized status in 2009, I was elected as Wilton Rancheria’s first Chairperson. I have been appointed to serve on several committees including, Grievance and Ethics, and I am also a planning team member of the Native American Breast Cancer Awareness Walk/Run. In 2010, I was first appointed to the Board of Directors for the Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC) and I have served as Chairperson of the Board since 2017.

I am also often asked to provide blessings and prayers while speaking at various community programs, schools and professional functions and events. I take these requests very personal and serious as I am honored to represent and share my knowledge not only for myself but for my tribal community. It is who I am.

Most recently, I received the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service from CSUS, in honor of my years of service not only to my tribal community but to the community at large.

Professional History

I graduated from Sacramento High School in 1970 and was awarded a scholarship to attend California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) where I majored in Criminal Justice. My intent was to become a Probation Officer and work with youth. However, my marriage in 1971 and motherhood changed that direction and I became a state civil service employee. I retired from state government as a Civil Rights Investigator after 32 years of rewarding and dedicated civil service. 

During my career, I have also spent significant time working within Indian Country. I worked as a Research Analyst with Native American Training Associate Institute and an Alcoholism Counselor with Inter-Tribal Council of California - Leo Camp Alcoholism Program, where I helped develop the Youth Alcoholism Program. I also worked for the California Indian Affirmative Action and Development Program as a Trainer where I conducted affirmative action workshops throughout the state assisting native communities with employment issues. This work experience gave me a solid foundation in understanding the inequities in tribal communities and what needed to be done for change.

My goal for serving on the Traditional Court is to be seen as a respectful and honest voice for tribal members, allowing them to bring their concerns to the table and to know that they will be heard and given a fair chance of resolution. 

My commitment is to serve my tribal members in the most honorable and respectful manner, with hopes of finding resolution for their concerns.