Erma J. Vizenor was elected as the Chairwoman of the White Earth Reservation in 2004 and is the first woman to lead the largest tribe in Minnesota. Previously, she was appointed Secretary/Treasurer in 1996 and then elected to the position in 1997. As Chairwoman she represents all districts both on and off the White Earth Reservation. She recently led White Earth’s effort to develop a new tribal constitution, which was ratified by delegates of the White Earth constitutional convention in April 2009 and is in the process of being put before the White Earth citizens for final approval.
Erma has worked her entire career in education on the White Earth Reservation. She holds an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education; a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling; and a specialist degree in Education Administration from Minnesota State University Moorhead. A Bush Leadership fellowship gave Erma the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in Community Decision-Making and Lifelong Learning; and a doctoral degree in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University. Erma is committed to building a strong infrastructure within the White Earth Reservation, which is necessary in order to exercise sovereignty, self-governance, and service to the tribal citizens.
Erma has two daughters; Jody, a tribal coordinator for Minnesota State University in Moorhead, Minnesota and Kristi, a pharmacist in Duluth. She is the proud grandmother of Addie, Bethany, Marina, and Cedar. [Source: White Earth Nation]