CIPP Staff

Wendy Helgemo

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers 



Wendy HWendy Helgemo is the Founding Director of the AT&T Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy at the George Washington University.  Wendy has dedicated her career to serving American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians in the public, non-profit and tribal sectors and protecting tribal sovereignty.  She has more than 20 years of experience in federal Indian law and policy and working with tribal governments. 

Before joining the George Washington University, Wendy served as senior advisor on Indian Affairs to Democratic Leader Senator Harry Reid (NV).  In her role, she helped to secure passage of critical tribal provisions in the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 and legislation conveying more than 71,000 acres of much needed land to six Indian tribes in Nevada.  Prior to that, Wendy served as director of government affairs at the National American Indian Housing Council where she led its membership in reauthorization of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 2008 and in ensuring that tribal housing programs were included and funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  She was also an attorney in the Office of General Counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission and in-house counsel for several federally recognized Indian tribes, including her own, the Ho-Chunk Nation.  This on-the-ground experience within a tribal government on a day-to-day basis included practice in state and tribal courts on matters such as the Indian Child Welfare Act, development and application of tribal policies and laws, and intergovernmental affairs with local, county, state and federal governments.  Wendy grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, attended the Blake School, and earned her BA in English from St. Olaf College and her juris doctor from the University of Colorado Law School. 



Elizabeth Rule

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers 

Assistant Director 

[email protected] 


Elizabeth Rule is the Assistant Director of the Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy at the George Washington University, and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Brown University's American Studies Department. Elizabeth received her M.A. from Brown University and her B.A. from Yale University, both in American Studies. Before coming to George Washington, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Anthropology. She is a recipient of a number of research fellowships and grants, including: the Ford Foundation Dissertation Completion Fellowship, "Holisso: The Center for Study of Chickasaw History and Culture Fellowship," the Mellon Mays Predoctoral Research Development Grant, and the Chancellor Thomas A. Tisch Fellowship for Graduate Studies. Elizabeth has lectured, presented, and taught courses related to Native American Studies nationally and internationally, placing particular emphasis on Indian law. Her dissertation, Reproducing Resistance: Gendered Violence and Indigenous Nationhood, explores the intersection of Native American/First Nations women's reproductive justice issues and gender violence. Her work brings together Native American Studies, legal histories, theories of gender/sexuality, and critiques of settler colonialism.