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Karen (Chanté Wambdi Wiŋ) Mackey (she/her)

BOD Chair

Santee Sioux

Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska

Home Base: Sioux City, IA

My Story

Karen (Chanté Wambdi Wiŋ) Mackey (she/her) is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska. She received a B.S. from Morningside College (now University) in 1990 and a J.D. from the University of Nebraska, College of Law in 1994. She is licensed to practice law in Iowa and Nebraska. Karen is the Executive Director of the Sioux City Human Rights Commission, a position she has held since 2004.


Karen is a sixth-degree black belt in judo and a former national-level competitor. After nearly 50 years in the sport, she teaches judo to people of all ages and has coached numerous junior national champions. In 1995, she was one of the first women and only martial artist to be inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. That year she also received the President’s Award from the United States Judo Federation.


Karen was named a Woman of Excellence by Women Aware in 2008 in the Category Women Taking Risks. In 2019 she was named a LGBTQ Legacy Leader by DSM Magazine and One Iowa.


Karen is a founding member of Siouxland Pride Alliance, a grassroots organization promoting the equality, safety and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) people in Siouxland.


Karen serves as chair of the Community Initiative for Native Children and Families, the Disabilities Resource Center of Siouxland, the Urban Native Center in Sioux City and the Native American Caucus of the Iowa Democratic Party. She is a member of the boards of Siouxland Human Investment Partnership (SHIP) and Home Forward Iowa.


Karen is active in PFLAG of Siouxland and the Sioux City Chapter of the NAACP. She also serves on the USA Judo Ethics and Grievance Committee and the United States Judo Federation’s Standards Committee. Karen is a member of First Unitarian Church, where she is a lay leader and a member of the board of trustees.

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