Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Indigenous Lawyer to Lead USDA's Tribal Relations Office


January 27, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Monday that it has appointed Heather Dawn Thompson, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, as Director of the Office of Tribal Relations (OTR), which reports directly to the Secretary of Agriculture.

Thompson is a graduate of Harvard law school and “an expert in American Indian law, tribal sovereignty, and rural tribal economic development,” the USDA said in a statement.

Thompson has years of experience working with a number of legal organizations and in public service, including as a member of the American Indian Law Practice Group at Greenberg Traurig, where she focused on federal Indian law and tribal agriculture; a presidential management fellow at the Department of Justice; a law clerk with the Attorney General’s Office for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe; as Counsel and Policy Advisor to the U.S. Senate’s Democratic Policy Committee; and as assistant U.S. Attorney for the South Dakota’s Indian Country Section, where she worked on cases involving violence against women and children.


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