USDA Announces Heather Dawn Thompson as Director, Office of Tribal Relations

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced Heather Dawn Thompson’s appointment as Director of the Office of Tribal Relations. USDA says Thompson is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, a Harvard Law School graduate, and an expert in American Indian law, tribal sovereignty, and rural tribal economic development.

With Thompson in place, USDA will return the position directly under the Secretary, “restoring the office’s important government-to-government role.” A USDA spokesperson says it’s “important to have a Director who can serve as a lead voice on tribal issues, relations and economic development within the Office of the Secretary.” Most recently, Thompson served as a member of the American Indian Law Practice Group, where she worked on federal Indian law and Tribal agriculture.

In the private sector, Thompson was previously a partner at Dentons, where she was one of only a handful of Native American partners at an “AmLaw 100” law firm.