(KCAU) — A Ho-Chunk, Inc. executive and an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe is joining the Biden Administration.
According to a release, Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, a member of the Winnebago Tribe
and Ho-Chunk, Inc.’s Executive Vice President of Community Impact and Engagement, has been
tapped to join the Biden Administration as the Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs.
In her new role, Bledsoe Downes will be the Indian Affairs legal team lead at the Department of
the Interior (DOI). President Biden has nominated New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as secretary of the
interior, which is head of the agency. Upon confirmation, Haaland would be the first Native
American, member of the Pueblo of Laguna, to run DOI, and first Native cabinet member ever.
“The significance of her appointment to me personally and to all of Indian Country cannot be
overstated. I’m honored to be a part of that,” Bledsoe Downes said.
In addition to her role at Ho-Chunk, Inc., Bledsoe Downes has been Professor of Practice and
Director of the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs at the Sandra Day O’Connor
College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU).
She previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development
for Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Bledsoe Downes grew up in Winnebago, attending Winnebago Public School and graduating
from Wayne State College in Nebraska and later served as President of Little Priest Tribal
College in Winnebago