Danelle J. Smith

272 Ho-Chunk Plaza, Ste. A

Winnebago, NE 68071


Tribal Affiliation

Enrolled Member Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska


Bachelor’s Degree in Business/Human Resource Management, Wayne State College, Nebraska (B.S. 1998)

Juris Doctor, University of Iowa School of Law (J.D. 2003)

Bar Admissions

Nebraska; U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska; Winnebago Tribal Court

Prior Legal Experience

Fredericks Peebles & Morgan (2006-2019); General Counsel, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and Ho-Chunk, Inc. (2003-present); Legal Extern, Iowa City Attorney’s Office and Iowa City Human Rights Commission (2003); Legal Intern, Native American Rights Fund (2002); Legal Intern, Ho-Chunk, Inc. (2001)

Other Experience

CEO, Winnebago Comprehensive Healthcare System (2018-present)

Associations and Honors

Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation Board Member (2017-present); National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) “Native American 40 under 40” Award Recipient (2009); Thurston County Board of Supervisors Vice-Chairperson (2004-2008); Federal Bar Association Indian Law Section; Nebraska State Bar Association; National Native American Bar Association; American Indians for Opportunity Program Alumni (Class of 1998)

Teaching Positions

Adjunct Instructor, Business and Federal Indian Law, Little Priest Tribal College, Winnebago, Nebraska

Practice Areas

Ms. Smith practices primarily in the area of tribal and federal Indian law, with an emphasis in governmental affairs and economic development. In this capacity, she has served as General Counsel to the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and its subdivisions, including Ho-Chunk, Inc., the Tribe’s economic development corporation. Ms. Smith has extensive experience in a broad range of tribal governance and tribal economic development matters, including financing, gaming, real estate, employment, and intergovernmental relations. She also works with tribal constitution and enrollment issues, tribal court administration, and ordinance and code drafting. Additionally, Ms. Smith is experienced in advising non-profit organizations, schools, and community colleges.

Significantly, Ms. Smith has experience in tribal self-governance. She was recently instrumental in transferring management of the failing Winnebago Indian Health Service Hospital to tribal control. The hospital is now called the Twelve Clans Unity Hospital. Ms. Smith is the CEO of the Winnebago Comprehensive Healthcare System, which operates the hospital.