Tribal Government Relations Specialist
Continental, Midwest, Southeast and North Atlantic Districts
As Tribal Relations Specialist for the Continental, Midwest, Southeast and North Atlantic Districts, she is responsible to: North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas to include the 27 United and South Eastern Tribes from Texas to Florida to Maine collaboratively with her colleague. Mary joined the VA in February 2005 and served multiple roles: as Administrative Officer, Nursing Service and as Staff Assistant to the Associate Director, Patient Care Services, at the Oklahoma City VAMC. She also served as American Indian Advisor to the Medical Center Director.
As the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Tribal Government Relations, Mary manages a portfolio of relationships with tribal governments within her regions. She develops positive working relationships between tribal leaders, federal and state VA personnel and partnership agencies. She also serves as a resource to tribal governments seeking to engage in productive relationships with VA, but most important to Mary, serves her peers, the individual veterans themselves. She assists tribes in putting on training programs related to technical assistance related to various grants, homeless stand downs, VA enrollment fairs, and others. Mary also served on the White House Council on Native American Affairs and serves on the U.S. Interagency Council on Native American Homelessness.
A 20-year Air Force veteran, she was handpicked for a NATO assignment serving under three (3) Supreme Allied Commander’, Europe (SACEUR), SHAPE, Belgium, serving in their flight operations unit. She was also handpicked for a US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) position assigned to the Wing’ Base Personnel Readiness Unit as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of all worldwide deployments in and out of the European Theater.
She has a master’s in business administration/health care management, from the University of Phoenix, and she has one daughter, Alicia, and two grandbabies, Deanna and Devon. She is Seminole and Creek, enrolled with the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, and belongs to the Tom Palmer Band on her father’s side and is Wind Clan on her mother’s side.