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Vilsack announces tribal relations director

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week that he has appointed Joanna Mounce Stancil as director of the USDA Office of Tribal Relations.

As director, Stancil will provide permanent leadership to the efforts of USDA to improve tribal government consultation policies and practice and improve the ability of USDA agencies to work effectively with tribal governments, communities and individuals.

The USDA had promised to provide better services to Indian farmers as part of the settlement of the Keepseagle class action suit.

Stancil is Shawnee/Cherokee from Oklahoma and has been an adviser to the federal government in their responsibilities to tribal governments, and to tribal governments in helping them in building infrastructure and economic development.

Before joining USDA, she was the senior marketing specialist for the Small Business Administration. Stancil also served as the American Indian and Alaska Native program manager for the U.S. Census Bureau.

A former journalist, Stancil is the founder of the National Tribal Conservation Areas project. She has worked with the National Wildlife Federation, the National Congress of American Indians, and numerous environmental organizations and tribal governments to create tribally managed conservation parks similar to the National Park System.

Stancil will work closely with Janie Simms Hipp, who will continue to serve as senior adviser to the secretary for Tribal Relations, Vilsack said in a news release on Monday.