Robert McDonald has worked as the Communications Director at the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes since 2006. As Communications Director for the Tribes, he speaks for the government, manages media relations, provides public education, and is a first contact for those reaching out to the Tribes. He establishes and develops community and media contacts with the goal of nurturing improved working relationships.
As part of his job, he serves as a board member of the Ronan Chamber of Commerce and was part of the steering committee of Envision Polson, an organization made up of the Polson Foundation and the Polson Chamber of Commerce. He’s also on the board for the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Polson.
He had worked as a reporter for 15 years in Bremerton, Wash., Fort Wayne, Indiana, and, most recently, Spokane, Washington, where he covered various beats for the Spokesman Review, which included k-12 education; higher education; retail/real estate for the business desk; and cultural affairs, covering immigration, equity issues and a lifestyle column. His column “Northwest Passage” often covered American Indian issues.
Rob graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, with a BA degree in Journalism and landed internships at the Seattle Times and Dallas Morning News.
His honors and associations include: UNITY: Journalists of Color – serving as a board member representing the Native American Journalists Association, and as Secretary and executive board member. He also served as a mentor with UNITY’s mentoring program. In 1996, He was a New Media Fellow with the Newspaper Association of America and served as volunteer website manager for Native American Journalists Association (NAJA). He received Honorable Mention for Lifestyles writing from the SPJ Pacific Northwest Excellence in Journalism, 1999.
In 2002, NAJA awarded Rob first place for the best feature story at a non-native daily newspaper and second place for best news story at a non-native daily newspaper. Rob received a 2004 second place award for a 2004 series and Special Projects from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press Association.
He is also an Associate Lay Justice for the Tribes Appellate Court. He lives in Polson with his wife and two sons.