About Samantha

Deep and diverse Indian and tribal law experience

Samantha Skenandore advises tribal and corporate clients on federal Indian law and tribal law. She handles tribal governance, corporate governance, governmental affairs, corporate transactions, real estate, labor issues and litigation. With extensive multijurisdictional experience in tribal law, Samantha represents corporate entities, both tribal and nontribal, in matters involving participation in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program, corporate entity formation, financing, minority- or women-owned certification, labor relations, complex commercial real estate matters and government relations. She knows how to achieve favorable results related to:

  • State and federal legislation
  • SBA 8(a) and minority business certifications, appeals and reorganizations
  • Cultural resources preservation
  • Real estate transactions, including fee-to-trust conversions, development of tribal commercial districts, zoning disputes and appeals, acquisition of federal surplus property, and intergovernmental agreements and contracts

An enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, Samantha previously served as a tribal attorney for the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Justice, where her responsibilities included chairing the administrative grievance review board. Earlier in her career, she clerked for the U.S. Department of Justice, Indian Resources Section, and was a judicial clerk for the Colorado Division of Administrative hearings.

Experience in Action

  • Advises corporate clients on developing successful strategies to launch their businesses, seek and secure business certifications, build capacity and prosper.
  • Provides tailored corporate governance analysis and training to tribal council, tribal elected leadership and management for corporate clean up, reorganization and redirection.
  • Secures Small Business Administration 8(a) status for new tribally owned entities and mergers and acquisitions of SBA 8(a) entities by tribal clients.
  • Secures tribal interests and rights throughout the Section 106 federal tribal consultation process, including early consultation, ensuring proper insight in assessing adverse impacts, securing resolutions of the same and related litigation.
  • Represents clients before members of Congress, congressional committees and agencies through federal lobbying services.


  • Analyzed a tribal client’s constitution and code, revising portions of the code and drafting new tribal legislation to launch a multi-million-dollar federally chartered tribal corporation.
  • Assisted a tribe in creating semi-autonomous tribally owned agencies to administer government programs.
  • Successfully represented a tribe seeking recovery of ceded treaty land through the federal surplus real property disposal process.
  • Drafted and defended tribal fee-to-trust applications resulting in thousands of acres of tribal trust land conversions.
  • Represented a tribe in all aspects of negotiating, securing, interpreting and enforcing intergovernmental agreements and transportation law concerning a multi-million-dollar bypass project near the tribe’s flagship casino, successfully avoiding condemnation of tribe’s fee land.

Professional Recognitions

  • Chambers USA® (2021-present: Native American Law)
  • Best Lawyers in America® (2024: Native American Law)
  • Wisconsin Law Foundation, fellow (2019-present)
  • Madison365 "Wisconsin’s 38 Most Influential Native Americans" (2020)
  • Wisconsin Department of Transportation "Tribal Excellence Award" (2012)
  • Wisconsin Law Journal "Wisconsin Up and Coming Lawyer" (2011)
  • Business Watch Magazine "Amazing Women in Business" (2008)
  • Josephine P. White Eagle Fellow, Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Education (2002-2005)

Professional & Civic Activities

  • Wisconsin Law Foundation, board of directors (2020-present)
  • American Bar Association (2006-present)
  • Federal Bar Association (2006-present)
  • Ho-Chunk Nation, member; former elected Associate Justice of the Ho-Chunk Supreme Court
  • State Bar of Wisconsin, board of directors for Indian Law Section (2008-2011, 2016-2019)
  • Federal Circuit Bar Association, chair, Indian Law Committee (2009-2012)
  • Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers (2006-present)
  • Indian Land Tenure Foundation, chair of the board of directors (2018-present), previous board of directors member (2016-2018)
  • Spirit of a Woman/Indigenous Girls Rock Camp, board of directors (2016-present)
  • Gila River Indian Community Boys and Girls Clubs, auxiliary board of directors (2012-present)
  • Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Historic Preservation, board of directors (2006-2011)
  • Madison Children's Museum, board of directors (2009-2011)
  • Dane County United Way, account executive (2008, 2009)

News & Insights


Bar Admissions

Back to Main Content

We use cookies to provide you with the best user experience on our website and to analyze statistics related to our website. To understand more about how we use cookies, or for instructions to change your preference and browser settings, please see our Privacy Notice. Please note that if you choose to reject cookies, doing so may impair some of our website's functionality.

View My Stats