JoAnn Jones |
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JoAnn Jones

Judge / President of Ho-Chunk Nation

  • Fellow
  • 2024
Civil Service, Government, Law, Letters

The honorable Judge JoAnn F. Jones is an outstanding Ho-Chunk woman whose leadership, service, and humanitarian qualities have inspired her to become a champion of tribal sovereignty and a bridge builder in cross-cultural understanding.

With her political science and social work background, she was destined to be a leader. Judge Jones channeled her energy toward attaining her law degree where her skills were fully utilized. Early education began at a mission school, an Indian boarding school and rural public high school.With a grounding in Ho-Chunk values and citizenship, her dedication to country and service was evidenced by her service in the U.S. Air Force.

After life in urban settings, Judge Jones was approached by elders and leaders to run for tribal office. She was elected and served on the business committee of the Winnebago tribe. It was through her leadership that the tribe asserted their tribal sovereignty and changed the tribal constitution to become formally known as Ho-Chunk Nation. A new era of challenges, economic stability, and prosperity began as JoAnn Jones became the first and only female President of Ho-Chunk Nation.

A new department of health and social services evolved, along with an expanded Ho-Chunk language preservation office. In the new government, President Jones helped to shape a tribal court system. Through her leadership, the Traditional Court was developed. The court consists of male Clan leaders who provide counsel and guidance to all. Most recently Judge Jones led the process to create a Peacemakers Court composed of leaders from Traditional Court and Clan Mothers from the Social Services Department. 

With an approach of service in action and humility, she has provided expert testimony to protect the rights of Ho-Chunk children and families. Through social justice campaigns, economic development, and social services initiatives, she has been a voice for tribal sovereignty. Judge Jones has been a bridge to improving cultural relations throughout the lands.

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