ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday, Feb. 28, the hiring of two director positions to help the relationship between state government Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations.
Patina Park has been named director of Tribal State Relations Systems Implementation and Mattie Harper DeCarlo will serve as assistant director, a release said. The positions will be housed in the Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor and work with 24 state agencies to successfully implement Executive Order 19-24, affirming the government-to-government relationship between the state the tribal nations. The positions 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,” the release said.
“We are committed to implementing the structures, processes, and best practices to build better relationships and produce better outcomes with our tribal nations,” Walz said in the release.
The director and assistant director will serve as senior advisors to Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan as well as commissioners, key staff and tribal liaisons.
Park is Mnicoujou Lakota and her biological family comes from the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux Tribes, and her adoptive family is Osage, the release said. Since 2014, Park has served as the President/CEO of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center, a nonprofit opened in 1985 that provides holistic, multi-service programming “to heal, preserve, and strengthen Native American women and their families from the multi-generational and historic trauma experienced from the effects of colonization.”
Harper DeCarlo (Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe) received her bachelor's degree from Hamline University and her master’s and doctorate degrees 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, the release said. She is a descendant of Leech Lake and White Earth Ojibwe.