News Release

U of M names first senior director of American Indian Tribal Nations Relations

American Indian woman with child in her arms and Director Tadd Johnson
Tadd Johnson named first senior director of American Indian Tribal Nations Relations.

Tadd M. Johnson has been named the University of Minnesota’s first senior director of American Indian Tribal Nations Relations.

In this inaugural role, Johnson will serve as the liaison between the University of Minnesota and regional Tribal Nations, creating pathways for strong collaborations.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected for this new position,” Johnson said. “It is my hope that this great University will form new and lasting partnerships with the Native Nations of the region.”

As senior director of American Indian Tribal Nations Relations, Johnson will continue to be housed at U of M Duluth, where he will also continue his work as the director of the Tribal Sovereignty Institute and director of Graduate Studies in the American Indian Studies Department.

“I am delighted that the University will benefit from Professor Johnson’s expertise and leadership in this role,” said U of M Vice President for Equity and Diversity Michael Goh. “We are committed to deepening relationships and engagement between the University and Tribal Nations and serving American Indian students, staff, and faculty. We look forward to working with Professor Johnson to consider ways we can demonstrate our deepest respect for the sovereignty of our Tribal Nations, in our discovery, teaching, and service to Minnesota’s indigenous communities.”

In addition to his academic work, Johnson is a resource to tribal governments and Native American people with more than three decades of leadership and service in the field of Federal-Indian law and policy. Johnson served as a tribal attorney for more than 20 years, and has also served as a tribal court judge and administrator. Johnson is a frequent lecturer on American Indian history and Federal Indian Law. He spent five years with the U.S. House of Representatives, ultimately becoming staff director and counsel to the Subcommittee on Native American Affairs. In 1997, President Clinton appointed Johnson to chair the National Indian Gaming Commission. He is nationally recognized in the area of Native American Law and is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa.

Johnson received a B.A. at the University of St. Thomas, a J.D. at the U of M Law School, and serves on the Boards of the Udall Foundation and the Native Governance Center.

Today’s announcement concludes a comprehensive search for the inaugural position of Senior Director of American Indian Tribal Nations Relations.

“I would like to thank the search committee as well as our University and community partners for their invaluable work throughout this search process,” Goh said.

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