A lineal descendant of the Wahpeton-Sisseton and Mdewakanton Dakota tribes and lifetime Minnesota native, Dana Thompson has worked for nearly a decade within the food sovereignty movement. As co-owner and chief operating officer of The Sioux Chef, she manages all business development strategies for the company. She has traveled extensively throughout tribal communities, engaging in critical ways to improve food access and implementing strategies to do the most possible good as a social entrepreneur. In 2018, Dana jointly founded the non-profit NĀTIFS (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems) for which she is senior director of health and wellness initiatives. Through this entity, she focuses her expertise on addressing and treating ancestral trauma through decolonized perspectives of honoring and leveraging Indigenous wisdom.
Prior to her work with The Sioux Chef and NĀTIFS, Dana worked for over twenty years as a lead marketing specialist — overseeing product merchandising, marketing, special events, talent management, media relations, and project management in diverse industries and settings. Previous clients include Target Corporation, MusicMatters, Effect Partners, GoKart Labs, Aster Pictures Corporation and DIY Network, a multinational cable network owned by Discovery, Inc.
Dana has been published in the New York Times and the MN Women’s Press and featured most notably in Vogue, the New York Times, and on the PBS Newshour. In addition to serving on the board of directors of the non-profit Friends of the Falls, she serves on the leadership committee of the James Beard Foundation Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans. In July 2021, Dana and her business partner Chef Sean Sherman opened Owamni by The Sioux Chef, Minnesota’s first full service Indigenous restaurant, featuring healthy Indigenous food and drinks. Owamni received the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in June 2022.
An acclaimed jazz and Americana vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and music producer, Dana has released seven albums.