Oneida leader Danforth ’88 to deliver commencement address
Cristina (Tina) Danforth will be the featured speaker at the ceremony that begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. About 500 students are eligible to participate and receive degrees. With family and friends along with University faculty and staff in attendance, an audience of nearly 2,000 is expected.
Danforth is a 1988 Social Work graduate of UW-Green Bay. It is expected that, in her remarks, she will congratulate the graduates, share a sample of traditional native teaching about interdependence, and challenge UW-Green Bay’s newest alumni to serve others, the Earth and generations to come.
Danforth was elected to her second term as Oneida tribal chairwoman this past July, having previously served as chair from 2002 to 2005, and as tribal treasurer since 2008.
During her tenure as treasurer, the Oneidas achieved balanced budgets, paid off debt and self-funded both a gaming expansion and construction of a new retail outlet. Danforth led the effort to secure bonds for building a new, state-of-the-art nursing home.
She has extensive work experience in areas related to social services, economic development, business and education, and in working with the federal government on tribal issues. On a national level, she serves as chairwoman of the Native American Bancorporation and second vice president of the Native American Financial Officers Association. She has been a member of the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Tourism, president of the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes and vice chair of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council. She was selected as a lead negotiator of gaming compacts with the state of Wisconsin by the United Tribes of Wisconsin, and as negotiator for the Oneida Compacts and New York Land Claims.
She is a past recipient of the AmVets Leadership Award, Lifetime Achievement Award for Financial Leadership by NAFOA, and the Lifetime Achievement Award by Women Empowering Women in Indian Nations.
In October, Danforth was among leaders of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council who addressed a special meeting of the UW System Board of Regents to discuss increasing the numbers of American Indian students who attend college and graduate. She shared suggestions including adding American Indian staff on campuses, easing transfer rules so that more credits earned at tribal colleges qualify, and making colleges more comfortable and affordable for American Indian students.