March 25, 2022
I am pleased to announce that, pending approval by the OU Board of Regents, Tana Fitzpatrick has been named Associate Vice President of Tribal Relations – a key role that will directly advise the Office of the President on university relationships with Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities. A member of the Crow Tribe of Montana and a Sioux, Ponca, and Chickasaw descendent, Tana started in her position on March 21. She returns to her hometown of Norman, bringing with her 14 years of legal and policy experience in tribal and federal service. Her specialized knowledge and her ability to distill complex issues for a variety of constituents make her an outstanding choice for this important role at OU.
We are grateful to the members of our search committee for their diligent participation in the national search process, which attracted 13 highly qualified applicants. The seven members of the search committee – chaired by Heather Shotton, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and Director of Indigenous Education Initiatives – included administrators from Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, as well as faculty, staff, and student representatives.
As Associate Vice President of Tribal Relations, Tana’s expertise will be instrumental as she works to enhance and sustain the collaborative partnerships between OU and our Tribal Nations, and her oversight stretches across all three of our campuses. Part of her responsibilities will include working with our colleges to identify opportunities to support faculty in scholarship, outreach, and engagement with Indigenous communities and Tribal Nations. Tana will also develop and implement a strategic plan for OU’s Indigenous peoples initiatives, while also supporting related areas in OU’s “Lead On, University” Strategic Plan.
In her most recent position in the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress, Tana was a frequently sought-after resource for members of Congress and their staff, providing regular advisement as the policy expert on matters involving tribal lands and natural resources. She also consistently published reports in anticipation of congressional interest, including on tribal matters such as BIA appropriations, energy, and potential natural resource implications of McGirt v. Oklahoma.
Tana’s career also includes four years in the federal executive branch, beginning with the U.S. Department of the Interior as a Senior Counselor to the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, with later roles in the Office of Management and Budget and the National Indian Gaming Commission. Prior to taking on these positions in our nation’s capital, Tana worked as an attorney for two tribal communities in Arizona.
Tana earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from Oklahoma City University and a Juris Doctorate from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
Her vast breadth of knowledge and her diverse professional background will be a significant asset in our university’s commitment to honoring the fundamental partnership we share with our Native Nations.
Please join me in welcoming Tana to the OU Family.
Live On, University,
Joseph Harroz, Jr.