Gov. Whitmer Appoints Wenona Singel as Deputy Legal Counsel to the Office of the Governor


March 1, 2019


Gov. Whitmer Appoints Wenona Singel as Deputy Legal Counsel to the Office of the Governor  


LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed longtime educator and activist, Wenona Singel, as the deputy legal counsel to the Office of the Governor. Singel is the first American Indian to hold this position in Michigan. 

Her position of deputy legal counsel includes serving as the advisor to the Governor on tribal affairs. While serving in this role, she will work to strengthen the government-to-government relationship between Michigan’s twelve federally-recognized tribes and the State of Michigan.  

“I’m thrilled to work with Wenona on strengthening our relationships with Michigan tribes,” said Whitmer. “As a first step, I directed each state department to develop a tribal consultation policy.”   

Before her appointment, Wenona Singel was an associate professor at Michigan State University College of Law and Associate Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, and she received a J.D. from Harvard Law School.   

Previously, she served as a board member of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation following a presidential appointment by President Barack Obama with Senate confirmation. Wenona is an enrolled citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and a member of the American Law Institute, and she has two children with her husband, Matthew Fletcher.   

The appointment is not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.      

Michigan Radio: “‘We’ve never had justice’: How the Supreme Court rigged land deals against native people”


An excerpt:

“In many ways, it’s almost like gaslighting,” Wenona Singel says of the Johnson v. M’Intosh case. “You’re learning about … certain rights that are associated with property rights … knowing all along that these rights have not been respected, and were not enforced for your own ancestors.”

San Diego State Indian Law Conference Highlights

Many thanks to the San Diego State American Indian studies community for hosting today’s panel. Here are some pics.

David Kamper giving last minutes instructions:


Wenona giving her talk, “From Power Politics to Legal Duties: The Anatomy of Tribal-State Relations.”


The honoring of Linda Lockear:


The other panelists, Devon Lomayesva, Michele Fahley, and Linda Parker:


No pics of me, but here are my notes, including my intentionally unfunny joke:


And finally, the bravest audience in the world, the people who sat underneath the scariest medieval chandelier in the Southern California:


Podcast on UN Declaration Panel at AALS

Here is the podcast for the Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples panel on the UN declaration at AALS.

Speakers included:

Coulter Robert T. – Speaker

Angelique Eaglewoman – Speaker

G.W. Rice – Speaker

Wenona Singel – Moderator