Despite that relative youth, Thunder wasn’t daunted by her new responsibilities. Her resume includes stints with the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, of which she is an enrolled member and where she worked as a staff attorney on contracts dwarfing the size of the Labor Department’s two-year budget of under $3 million.
And the small size of the Indian Affairs Commission, the state agency where she most recently worked, meant Thunder was involved in a wide range of issues affecting North Dakota tribes.
“I’ve always been in this area where that weight on my shoulders has been present but it didn’t scare me,” she said. “I just knew that I had a job at hand.”
Gov. Doug Burgum’s latest Cabinet appointment may be an early sign of the shifting demographics in the workplace. Millennials like Thunder became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force last year, the Pew Research Center said.
In North Dakota, the median age has declined over the past decade and was below the national figure in 2017, according to census figures. Thunder said the state has plenty of opportunities for young professionals.
“There have been for me,” she said.
Thunder’s appointment may also mark the