A member of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, Nora McDowell was born and raised in Needles, CA. She moved to the Arizona portion of the Fort Mojave reservation in 1972 and still remains a resident there. Ms. McDowell has committed over 38 years to tribal government, starting her career as a clerk for the Manpower program in 1975, eventually working her way up to Tribal Council Executive Secretary in 1980. Her interest in tribal politics began with her first tribal council campaign and election in 1981, when she began her first four-year term. She is proud to have served the Council and the Fort Mojave Tribal community for over two decades, following the example of her father, Sanford P. McDowell and late grandfather, Thomas P. McDowell, two leaders in the early formation of Fort Mojave Tribal government.
As Fort Mojave Tribal Council Chairperson, Ms. McDowell’s leadership has been instrumental in forging many economic projects for the tribe. After her election to a second term in 1986, Ms. McDowell felt it necessary for the tribe to achieve total tribal self sufficiency and to exercise its sovereign rights. Her belief was that it was incumbent of the tribal government to take over all of its utility operations and infrastructure services. Thus began a long process of numerous legal workings and administrative duties to accomplish that goal. The tribe currently provides all utility services on the reservation in three states, California, Arizona and Nevada. The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe maintains one of only seven tribally owned and operated telecommunications company in the United States. The tribe also provides electric, water and sewer services to reservation residents.
In 2004, the tribe completed an Economic Impact analysis to determine the tribal contribution to the local economy. Not surprisingly, the tribe has created over 3,600 jobs and contributed over a third of a billion dollars to the local economy, making it a business leader in this region.
Ms. McDowell has been recognized by many Native American organizations for her leadership and service as President and Board member of such organizations as the Intertribal Council of Arizona, Arizona Indian Gaming Association, Fort Mojave Telecommunications, Inc., National Tribal Telecommunications Association, Bureau of Indian Affairs Reorganization Task Force, National Congress of American Indians, national Tribal Leadership Forum, 10 Tribe Partnership of the Lower Colorado River, Aha Macav Power Service Lower Colorado River Tribes Alliance, Southwest Strategy Consortium, Council of Energy Resource Tribes and the Native American Rights Fund.
Ms. McDowell is the proud mother of three children and the proud grandmother of four beautiful granddaughters.