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Ron Whitener (he/him)

“The JD”

As a co-owner of The Whitener Group, Ron Whitener provides tribal court and justice system development services for tribes.


Ron worked as in-house legal counsel for the Squaxin Island Tribe before returning to the University of Washington School of Law to teach. While there, he formed the Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic, after which he was appointed Chief Judge for the Tulalip Tribes Tribal Court, where he presided over the Healing to Wellness Court. Among other awards, in 2011, Ron was named a Champion of Change by President Barack Obama for his work in providing public defense in tribal courts.  He continues to serve as a pro tem and appellate judge for various tribal courts in the PNW. Ron graduated from the University of Washington School of Law.  

Ron has extensive experience with tribal court assessment; justice system strategic planning; code writing; judicial trainings; court forms, manuals, and benchbook development; and Healing to Wellness Court development.  

When he isn’t traveling to a tribal court, you can find him plotting to buy another boat, taking a nap (as he will tell you is his soon-to-be-elder right), collecting safety items in his garage (you can never have enough bottled water), or spending time with his doggo and family. 

Ron Whitener (he/him)
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