Published April 7, 2017
SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA – Heather Dawn Thompson, an attorney in the American Indian Law Practice of international law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, was recently awarded a Bush Fellowship for her extraordinary leadership in Indian Country. The Fellowship provides an educational grant to pursue the training and experiences Fellows need to become more effective leaders in their community.
Thompson, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, will focus her Bush Fellowship on “self-sufficiency,” for Tribal governments. Thompson wants to better engage the private sector with the Great Plains Tribes in their efforts to build their strength and self-determination. She is experienced in Indian law and economic development nationwide; and, in result, has witnessed economic independence bring freedom to invest in language, culture, and service to tribal citizens. She also believes strong leadership requires the wisdom that the Lakota language and values provide. She will use her Bush Fellowship to pursue corporate and tribal finance, combining it with a focus on traditional Lakota values of leadership and self-sufficiency.
“We are honored to have someone with Heather’s knowledge of Indian country, Native American Law, and tribal economic development serving our clients and also always seeking to learn more to benefit tribes in the Great Plains and beyond,” said Jennifer H. Weddle, co-chair of the American Indian Law Practice. “Her exceptional background and leadership provides valuable perspective to our clients.”
Thompson was selected from nearly 650 applicants, from across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Fellows determine what they need to become a more effective leader and receive the fellowship grant to make it happen.
Thompson is from South Dakota, where she served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Dakota’s Indian Country Section prior to joining Greenberg Traurig. She also previously served as the Director of Government Affairs for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the nation’s oldest and largest inter-tribal organization. In addition, she is Past President of both the South Dakota Indian Country Bar Association and the National Native American Bar Association.
She focuses her practice at Greenberg Traurig on American Indian law, federal Indian policy and advocacy, tribal sovereignty, tribal economic development, and tribal nation building. Thompson works with individual tribes, tribal and Indian-owned businesses, intertribal associations, and businesses seeking to partner with tribal corporations. Thompson was published recently, writing an article on “Doing Business with Native American Tribal Corporations.”
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