“I do hope I can do the University some good, and my number one priority is to do some good for Indian Country. That’s who I’ve always been working for, no matter what position I’ve held.”
Tadd Johnson spoke those words two years ago, after he was named the first-ever senior director of American Indian Tribal Nations Relations for the University of Minnesota System.
In this role, Johnson has been the primary liaison between the University and regional tribal nations, creating avenues for better communication and understanding, as well as stronger collaborations.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone with better qualifications. Johnson, who earned a law degree from the University of Minnesota, has more than three decades of leadership and service in Indian law and policy. He served as a tribal attorney for more than 20 years, as a tribal court judge and administrator, and for five years with the U.S. House of Representatives—becoming counsel to the Subcommittee on Native American Affairs. In 1997 President Bill Clinton appointed Johnson to chair the National Indian Gaming Commission.
He’s also an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, and professor and director of the Master of Tribal Administration and Governance program at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Johnson receives honor
Johnson was recently recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native American Finance Officers Association at its 2021 Fall Finance and Tribal Economies Conference.