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Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan Announce Directors to Improve Tribal-State Relations

Funded by the Bush Foundation, the two new roles will work to affirm the government-to-government relationship between the State of Minnesota and Minnesota’s eleven Tribal Nations

2/28/2020 12:11:53 PM

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced the hiring of Patina Park as Director of Tribal State Relations Systems Implementation and Mattie Harper DeCarlo as Assistant Director of Tribal State Relations Systems Implementation. The Director and Assistant Director will be housed within the Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor and work across the 24 state agencies to successfully implement Executive Order 19-24 , affirming the government-to-government relationship between the State of Minnesota and Minnesota’s eleven tribal nations. These roles are supported by a grant from the Bush Foundation to advance the goal of supporting Native self-determination and helping governments solve problems by better understanding and designing for the people they serve.

“I am honored to announce that Patina Park and Mattie Harper DeCarlo will be joining our team to help fulfill our directive of honoring tribal-state relations across state government,” said Governor Walz. “We are committed to implementing the structures, processes, and best practices to build better relationships and produce better outcomes with our tribal nations.”

“I want Minnesota to be the national model of who’s getting it right when it comes to working in partnership with tribes,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “These roles are clear and tangible steps toward actualizing our goal of tribal-state relationships built on respect, understanding, and honoring treaty rights and tribal sovereignty. We are so fortunate to have the depth of experience that Patina and Mattie bring to this work. I’m thrilled they’re joining our team.”

The Director and Assistant Director will serve as senior advisors to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Commissioners, Tribal Liaisons, and key staff in their continued leadership and work toward strengthening tribal-state relations.

Governor Walz signed Executive Order 19-24 on April 5, 2019, which directs the following:

  • Affirms that the State of Minnesota recognizes and supports the unique status of the Minnesota Tribal Nations and their right to existence, self-govern, and possess self-determination.
  • Directs state agencies to recognize the unique legal relationship between the State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Tribal Nations and respect the fundamental principles that establish and maintain this relationship.
  • Requires all state agencies to designate Tribal Liaisons that will be able to directly and regularly meet and communicate with the Agency’s Commissioner and Deputy and Assistant Commissioners in order to appropriately conduct government-to-government conversations.
  • Mandates tribal-relations training for all state leaders and other employees whose work may impact Tribes.

About Patina Park

Patina Park is Mnicoujou Lakota and her biological family comes from the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux Tribes, and her adoptive family is Osage. Because of her own experiences as an adoptee, Ms. Park is passionate about issues related to Native American children and families and has led trainings nationwide related to Federal Indian Law, ICWA, historical trauma, and implementing trauma-informed, culturally-responsive programming. Since 2014, Patina Park has served as the President/CEO of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center (MIWRC), a nonprofit opened in 1985 and dedicated to providing holistic, multi-service programming grounded in cultural strengths to heal, preserve, and strengthen Native American women and their families from the multi-generational and historic trauma experienced from the effects of colonization.

For the past 9 years, Ms. Park has also served as faculty for the Falmouth Institute and has facilitated comprehensive trainings and consulting nation-wide to tribal and federal government representatives on issues that impact Indian Country, including Sovereignty, Federal Indian Law, Tribal Council and Board Development and Governance, Constitutions, and others as needed. She is one of two trainers approved by United States Department of Interior University to provide Tribal Consultation training to Federal agencies since 2015 and has facilitated numerous sessions with agencies throughout Interior. Ms. Park is also approved by the Division of Indian Self-Determination within the DOI Office of Indian Services to provide training and testing for employees working with Tribes and their ISDEAA compacts and contracts and has been providing these trainings throughout the country for both Federal agencies and Tribal governments.

About Mattie Harper DeCarlo

Mattie Harper DeCarlo (Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe) received her B.A. from Hamline University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Previously she served as the senior historian at the Minnesota Historical Society, where she guided and advised on MNHS interpretive content, coordinated research projects, and facilitated the incorporation of Native perspectives and voices on projects throughout the institution and at historic sites. She also served as program and outreach manager of Native American Initiatives at MNHS, helping to strategize and implement engagement practices with regional Native American communities. Prior to her work at MNHS, she served as an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego in the Ethnic Studies department. Ms. DeCarlo is a citizen of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe and a descendent of Leech Lake and White Earth Ojibwe.

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