Cedar Wilkie Gillette is the first Native American woman to become a VLS Professor. Cedar is a Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation enrolled member and a Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa direct descendant. Cedar earned her B.A. in Applied Social Justice and Human Rights Activism from the University of Minnesota-Morris and her J.D. from VLS.
Cedar was appointed in June 2020 as the first U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Coordinator. Cedar is tasked with assisting in advancing the national federal strategy to address MMIP issues created through congressional action, executive order, and the U.S. DOJ MMIP Initiative. Cedar is also tasked with developing the capacity of the District of Oregon’s first MMIP Program to provide assistance and critical attention to MMIP cases connected to Oregon through formal consultation with Oregon tribes, data gathering, development of MMIP Tribal Community Response Plans, and increasing collaboration and communication with all MMIP stakeholders.
Prior to DOJ, Cedar joined the Earthjustice Northern Rockies office and became the first Post-Graduate Law Fellow for Native American Partnerships. Since 2018, Cedar serves as an Indigenous Environmental Network Representative designing Indigenous environmental feminist perspective curriculum for International and Indigenous Feminist Organizing Schools located across the globe.
During law school, Cedar interned for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues North American Representative, the Earthjustice Northeast office, the VLS Environmental Advocacy Clinic, and was a VLS Center for Human Rights Law Fellow. Prior to law school, Cedar worked as a Victim Advocate for the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation domestic violence program that became overwhelmed with increased levels of violence against Native American women due to being located in the heart of the Bakken shale oil boom. And in 2011, Cedar co-founded the tribal grassroots group, No Fracking Way! Turtle Mountain Tribe, that lobbied the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa to become the first tribe in the U.S. to ban hydraulic fracturing.