The governmental and business affairs of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community are conducted by the Swinomish Senate, the duly elected governing body of the Tribe. The Senate governs the affairs of the Tribe through Senate committees, boards, and commissions established by tribal ordinance, interagency boards, and commissions that the Tribe participates in with other tribes and organizations. Twenty Senate committees and several other, more limited and ad hoc committees oversee the administration of tribal affairs. With limited exceptions, Senate committees make recommendations to the Senate but do not exercise delegated decision making authority.
Nine boards and commissions have been authorized to hire their own staff and operate independently for the most part from the Tribe and Swinomish Senate. Each Senator serves as the chair and vice-chair of at least one board or committee. The Senate reappoints the members of tribal boards and Senate committees annually.
The General Council, comprised of all voting age members of the Swinomish Tribe, meets on a regular basis to address issues facing Swinomish. At the February General Council meeting the membership votes on the Senate election and sets the goals for the Swinomish Tribe for the next year.