Members of the Nisenan: Nevada City Rancheria


The Nevada City Rancheria is governed by a five member Tribal Council. It is the responsibility of the Tribal Council to foster and encourage the well being of the Tribe. This is done through the cultivation of Nisenan culture, the documentation of Tribal histories, recording of genealogies, and the implementation and organization of Tribal business. One of the main issues addressed in daily business of Tribal affairs is the reinstatement of the Nevada City Rancheria as a federally recognized entity.

Tribal Government

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson, Chairman
Richard brings 32 years of leadership and business organization to the Tribal Council. He is forward thinking and takes his job of Chairman as a serious responsibility, but also as a great honor. Richard lives in Nevada City just miles from the Nevada City Rancheria where he was born. His grandparents, Peter and Margaret Johnson, were the only Tribal members to become “distributees” under the Termination Act of 1958.

Virginia Covert

Virginia Covert, Vice Chair
Virginia started the quest years ago to seek federal reinstatement of the Nevada City Rancheria. Her father, “Dutch” Rose, was the last singular leader of the Tribe before his passing in 1997. In 1998, she began gathering together the governing body of the Tribe to officially seek recognition.

Shelly Covert

Shelly Covert, Secretary
When the time came to help Virginia with the duty of seeking reinstatement of the Nevada City Rancheria, Shelly dedicated herself to the task. Shelly grew up a musician but has transferred her attentions to writing and Native American advocasy. Today, this is Shelly’s sole focus; to see her people federally recognized within the eyes of the United States government.

Lorena Davis

Lorena Davis, Treasurer
Lorena's service continues as she accepts a second term as treasurer. She strives to keep the Tribe’s goals and dreams at the forefront of daily business. Always remembering the struggles of the ancestors, she is determined to achieve a better standard of life for the people.


Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas
Sarah has recently been called upon to fill in as an alternate for the Tribal Council. Sarah shares the vision and commitment of the other Council members; to seek federal recognition and to promote the culture and true history of the Nisenan Tribe of Nevada County.

Saxon Thomas

Saxon Thomas
Saxon is the youngest member of the Tribal Council and takes pride representing the youth and young adults in the membership. He is always ready to assist the Elders and makes himself available whenever called upon. Saxon is an asset and brings a fresh and energetic viewpoint to Tribal matters.