Interior Department Announces the Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs on Biden-Harris Leadership Team

Please join us to congratulate Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes!

She is joining the Biden Administration as the Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs.

Ann Marie is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe and has been Ho-Chunk, Inc.’s Executive Vice President of Community Impact and Engagement for the past 4 years. Flatwater Group is a division of Ho-Chunk Inc.

In her new role, Ann Marie will be the Indian Affairs legal team lead at the Department of the Interior.

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 (she’s a 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,” Ann Marie said.

In addition to her role at Ho-Chunk, Inc., Ann Marie 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.

Ann Marie grew up in Winnebago, attending Winnebago Public School and then graduating from Wayne State College in Nebraska. She later served as President of Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago.

Thank you, Ann Marie! We appreciate your dedication to serving Native communities, including Winnebago.

We’ll miss working with you, but excited for the future!

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