In the heartfelt 2023 Earle R. Wilcox Award Acceptance video, Donald (Don) Motanic, a distinguished figure in the Native American community, and Wisdom of the Elders Board President, radiates humility and gratitude as he receives this prestigious honor. Having served as the Board President of the Wisdom of the Elders, Inc from 2019 to 2023, Don has been instrumental in guiding and shaping tribal policies with his expertise and wisdom.
Don Motanic’s profound knowledge spans various areas, most notably as a Forestry Engineer and Forest Manager. Throughout his illustrious 42-year career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, he lived and worked closely with the Yakama Nation, Umatilla, and Spokane Tribes, actively contributing to sustainable forest management and preservation of tribal lands.
A true advocate for education and empowerment, Don has played an integral role as a Technical Specialist with the Intertribal Timber Council since 1995. Furthermore, his dedication to nurturing Native youth shines through his involvement with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), providing them with opportunities to explore and excel in the fields of science and engineering.
Don Motanic’s impact extends beyond the realms of forestry and education. He has generously devoted his time and expertise to numerous advisory councils, such as Wisdom of the Elders, Inc., Washington Agricultural Forestry Leadership Foundation, Washington State University-Vancouver Native Advisory Council, Society of American Foresters, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Through his unwavering commitment, he has enriched the lives of many and cultivated a lasting legacy of leadership.
While being a revered figure in his professional life, Don’s heart remains grounded at home in Brush Prairie, WA, where he runs a successful Horse Boarding Business alongside his wife, Mary Beth. The couple takes pride in supporting their daughter Jayme’s passion for breeding and training reining horses, reflecting their deep sense of family and community.
In his touching acceptance video, Don Motanic exemplifies the qualities of a compassionate leader, an expert in his field, and a devoted family man. His journey has been marked by profound contributions to the preservation of tribal lands, the advancement of education, and the empowerment of Native communities. Through his humility and dedication, Don continues to inspire and uplift those around him, leaving an indelible mark on the lives of many for generations to come.