By Meghan Chua
Ada Deer / Capital Times file photo
Since her 2007 retirement from teaching in the School of Social Work and heading the American Indian Studies Department at UW, Ada Deer has stayed busy advocating for social change and improving people’s lives. As Deer says: “I am proud to be a social worker, and that’s very central to my identity and my participation in the world.” Deer was an instrumental leader in grassroots organization that led to the Menominee Restoration Act in 1973, protecting her own tribe’s sovereignty and setting a precedent for federal restoration of tribal rights. She served as the Assistant Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton administration, and was the first Native American woman to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Recently, Deer has been featured as a remarkable woman and social worker in Alice Lieberman’s book, “Women in Social Work who have Changed the World.” As she looks toward planning her 80th...