Donald Sampson

(Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation)

Donald G. Sampson is the Executive Director of the Institute for Tribal Government at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon. He also leads the Institute’s 501(c) 3 non-profit arm – The Tribal Leadership Forum.  The Institute for Tribal Government serves elected tribal governments from across the nation and also provides training to local, state and federal government agencies and others who are interested in learning about tribal government. A Tribal Policy Board consisting of elected tribal chairpersons, directors of tribal governmental and policy organizations, and representatives of institutions of higher education provide policy guidance to the Institute.  

Don also owns Seventh Generation, a tribal advisory and consultation company that works to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of tribal government and business operations. He formerly was the Director of Native programs at Ecotrust, a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 and based in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Sampson also served as the Executive Director of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) located in northeastern Oregon, a position he held from 2003 to 2010. He was responsible for more than 1,500 employees and a $194 million operating budget to oversee all business and government operations. The CTUIR is the government of the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla Tribes – a confederation formed by treaty in 1855.

Mr. Sampson served as the Executive Director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission for five years. The Commission was established by the Yakama, Warm Springs, Umatilla, and Nez Perce Indian tribes in 1977 and assists these tribes with management of the Columbia Basin’s salmon resources. He was also Chairman of the Umatilla Tribe’s Board of Trustees, an elected position he held from 1993 to 1997.

Mr. Sampson has held numerous advisory and elected board positions including the Earth Conservation - Salmon Corps Board, Spirit of the Salmon Fund, President of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society, Bonneville Environmental Fund, American Heritage Rivers Initiative Advisory Committee, Indian Art Northwest, and Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority Chair. In 2002, the Ford Foundation named him as a recipient of the Leadership for a Changing World award, a program that recognizes up to 20 community leaders throughout the nation.

He is an enrolled member of the CTUIR with Walla Walla tribal heritage and lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon.  Mr. Sampson attained a bachelor’s degree in fisheries resource management from the University of Idaho



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July 25, 2014

White House and USDA to Honor Champions of Change for Agriculture

Native Arts Capacity Building Initiative

The goal of the Native Arts Capacity Building Initiative (NACBI) is to increase the organizational, managerial and programmatic capacity of Native-controlled nonprofit organizations and tribal government programs supporting the field of Native arts and artists

Advancing Positive Paths for Native American Boys & Young Men

The “Advancing Positive Paths for Native American Boys and Young Men” program is aimed at improving education and employment outcomes for middle school and high school Native boys and young men.

November NICWA Training Institute
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Nov. 7-9, 2017

Trainings offered:

  • ICWA Training
  • In-Home Services

More information:


Employment opportunties at First Nations Development Institute.  
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