Hilda Ann Manuel
Native American Affairs and Legal Compliance
Ms. Hilda Manuel is the Managing Director, Tribal Services, for Firestorm. Ms Manuel has an in depth understanding of the needs and challenges that are unique to Indian tribes and is committed to providing services to them that will position those tribal governments to perform when faced with impending crises and disasters. As an enrolled member of the Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona, she brings over 30 years of experience working with Indian tribes, including her service as Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, for more than 10 years. Hilda was the first woman tribal member to graduate law school and dedicated the first 15 years of her career serving her tribal community and other Arizona tribes as a member of the judiciary.
In 1990 she moved to Washington DC to head the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Judicial Services, and after four years serving as Chief of Judicial Services and Chief of Tribal Government Services, Ms. Manuel was the first Indian woman to be appointed Deputy Commissioner of Indian Affairs by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt. As Deputy Commissioner, Ms. Manuel provided executive leadership to all major functions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs by exercising line authority over headquarters staff, offices, 12 regional offices and 87 agencies and field operations. Ms. Manuel had direct authority over and served as the Bureau’s Chief Financial Officer responsible for a $1.9 billion budget. Her distinguished career with the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, spanned more than 12 years.
Ms. Manuel then joined the prestigious law firm of Steptoe and Johnson, as Special Counsel in charge of the Firm’s Indian Law practice. Most recently, Ms. Manuel worked with Empire Resorts, Inc. as Sr. VP for Native American Affairs and Chief Compliance Officer. There she applied the experience gained when in 1992, she was tasked by the Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan to head up the Indian Gaming Action Team to begin developing regulatory guidelines for the operation of Class III gaming facilities.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Manuel served on various boards and organizations; she was a member of the Tohono O’odham Police Commission, the Indian Oasis School District Board of Trustees, the Arizona State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights, the Juvenile Justice Committee to the Arizona State Justice Planning Agency, and the Indian Youth of America Board of Directors. Ms. Manuel has received numerous awards and distinctions including Outstanding Young Woman of America, the YWCA Woman on the Move, a Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service and several Special Achievement awards by the Secretary. Ms. Manuel also served as Co-Chair of the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement in Indian Country in 1996.