Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has first new Tribal Chairman in 17 years

Apr 29, 2016

For the first time in roughly 17 years, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has a new leader. 

Newly-elected Kenneth Kahn, 39, is the first Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Tribal Chairman in 17 years.
Credit Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Following the results of a special election, 39-year-old Kenneth Kahn took over as Tribal Chairman Thursday night.

Kahn replaces Vincent Armenta, who resigned from the position midway through the current term in order to attend culinary school in New York.

The newly elected Kahn told KCBX that he's humbled in the new role and prepared to bring a fresh approach to the position.

"Communication is a key point of my platform," said Kahn. "I certainly welcome dialog. I don't mind the challenging conversations. I am a generation younger, so I think there is a lot of opportunity that comes from that."

Kahn said he grew up on the reservation and has seen tremendous changes during his lifetime. He said the Chumash community's economic success happened only recently and now gives the tribe the ability to provide basic necessities and more.

"Being able to take the history and the past and the wonderful memories, and even the challenges, and being able to learn from those is extremely important in creating a platform on how we go about making decisions today," said Kahn.

Kahn's current term runs out next March. They run two years each and there are no term limits.