University of Washington: Sherri Berdine named UW’s Director of Tribal Relations

Sherri Berdine has been named Director of Tribal Relations at the University of Washington, UW Vice President for External Affairs Randy Hodgins announced Monday. Berdine’s appointment is effective March 28.

The Director of Tribal Relations reports directly to the President and to the Vice President for External Affairs and manages the government-to-government relationships between the UW and the American Indian tribes throughout Washington and the Pacific Northwest.

“We are extremely excited to have Sherri joining us to lead our new Office of Tribal Relations,” Hodgins said, thanking the search committee that included leadership from across the UW and tribal leaders. “Through her experience working with federal, tribal and state and regional governments, I am confident she will build, expand and strengthen the University’s existing relationships with tribal governments, their leaders and citizens across our state and region.”

Berdine, who is Unangan (Aleut), brings more than 10 years of experience in tribal affairs, government relations and project management to her new role, having served as a federal representative and tribal liaison for 15 government agencies and departmental programs under two presidential administrations.

“I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to honor and reaffirm the University’s commitment to its government-to-government relationship with the tribes in our region,” Berdine said. “As the Director of Tribal Relations, I will immediately seek to improve upon existing communications and efforts by meaningfully engaging with our state partners, connecting them to university resources, and by identifying new areas for potential collaboration.”

Berdine spent a decade at Kauffman & Associates Inc. in Washington, D.C., where she managed federal contracts aimed at improving health care, education and other socio-economic disparities for American Indian and Alaska Native communities. She also previously served on U.S. Sen. Patty Murray’s staff facilitating communication between constituents and government agencies and assisting constituents in accessing services, and was responsible for investigating issues with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service.

Berdine is a graduate of the UW with bachelor’s degrees in sociology and American Indian Studies, and she earned a Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law from the University of Tulsa College of Law.

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