Center for Conflict Studies Knowledge as Action, Action as Change

Dianne Barker Harrold


KEYNOTE ADDRESS TITLE: "The Complexities of Delivering Justice: Experiences in Indian Country”

Dianne Barker Harrold has practiced law for the past twenty-six years, most of them in Indian Country.  She served as tribal judge for thirteen Indian tribes in Oklahoma and then went on to serve as the elected District Attorney for eight years in four counties in Northeast Oklahoma, serving as the first female Native American District Attorney for the State of Oklahoma.  She also served as an attorney in the first jury trial ever held in the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma.   Previously, she served as Attorney General, General Counsel and Director of the Legal Assistance for Victims for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma and Special Advisor to the Chief.  She has also served as an adjunct professor at Bacone (Muscogee Creek Nation) College teaching Native American Studies and served for five years as the Associate Judge for the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.

Currently, she is the attorney for the Tribal Council for the Cherokee Nation and is employed as the Resource Delivery Coordinator for Unified Solutions Tribal Community Development Group, Inc., of Tempe, Arizona, who provides Training and Technical Assistance to US Department of Justice Grantees under the Office of Victims of Crime Tribal Victims Programs across the nation.

Dianne was one of the founding mothers of the domestic violence shelter, Help-in-Crisis, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma,  which is now in its 33rd year of service to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  During Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October of 2007, she was named Outstanding Volunteer of the Year for Help-in-Crisis.  She has been a tireless advocate for battered women and victims of crime which has earned her the Women Holding Up the World Award from the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault and both  the Heart of Gold Award and the Shining Star Award from the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.  She currently serves as the Native American/Victim representative for the State VOCA (Victims of Crime Assistance) Board for Oklahoma.

While District Attorney, she was twice selected as Oklahoma’s Outstanding District Attorney.  She served on the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Domestic Violence Task Force and was Chairperson of the Oklahoma Violence Against Women Act Grant Board.  In 2002, Biker’s Against Child Abuse named her their Outstanding Prosecutor for Oklahoma.  She has also received commendations from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for her work to reduce fatality accidents and from the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration for her work in illegal drug eradication.  She has been named an outstanding alumna from both Stilwell High School and Northeastern State University Social Services Division and in 2013 she was honored by Northeastern State University as the female distinguished alumnus for 2013.

A member of numerous civic organizations, she is also a member the National Congress of American Indians and the Oklahoma Indian Bar Association.  Harrold is licensed to practice in numerous tribal courts and United States District Courts and is a licensed member of the Oklahoma Bar Association.

An enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Dianne is also an independent consultant and frequent speaker around the country, training tribal prosecutors and law enforcement, victims’ advocates, child welfare workers, and service providers in the areas of child abuse, victim advocacy, domestic violence, sexual assault, report writing for both law enforcement and advocates, and other related topics.   She also serves as an Independent Consultant for the United States Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC  TTAC), the Office of Violence Against Women-having facilitated two historic tribal OVW task forces in 2008 and in December of 2011, and the American Indian Resource Center-Institute for Native Justice.  She has served as a grant peer reviewer for OVC Tribal Victim Assistance Grants, VAWA Tribal Grants, Adam Walsh Act Grants, the National Institute of Justice, the 2009 Recovery Act Grants Initiative, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs, and CTAS Grants for Tribal Grantees.  In November of 2009, Harrold was the spotlight consultant as an expert in Indian Country for OVC  TTAC.  At the 12th National Indian Nations Conference in 2010 Harrold was awarded the Bonnie Heavy Runner Advocacy Award for her work with crime victims in Indian Country.  In January of 2013, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief, Bill John Baker, appointed Harrold to the Tribe’s One Fire Victims’ Task Force.  In April of 2013, Harrold received the 2013 National Crime Victims Rights Week National Crime Victim Service Award for her long term work with crime victims presented to her by United States Attorney General, Eric Holder.

When she isn’t working she is with her three grown daughters, 11 grandchildren, 1 great granddaughter and husband, Dale, who is a semi-retired police officer.   She loves gardening, cooking, and crafts and is an avid cross stitcher and jewelry maker.