Hon. Bird graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in 1987. She attended Michigan State University, where she graduated with a B.A. in art and social science. In 1999, Hon. Bird graduated from DePaul University College of Law, where she served as the Native American Representative and President of the Latino Law Students Association.
After law school, Hon. Bird served as a Hearing Officer for Chicago Public Schools, presiding over matters concerning the educational welfare and discipline of children and teachers. Hon. Bird was appointed as a Guardian Ad Litem for the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office in 2000, where she represented over 230 children in the abuse/neglect system. From there, Hon. Bird went into private practice, representing clients in matters of family, criminal, traffic, civil, estate planning, real estate, and juvenile law. Hon. Bird also served as Vice-President of the Native American Foster Parents Association. Most notably, however, Hon. Bird founded and served as Vice-President, President, and President-Emeritus of the Illinois Native American Bar Association, and is credited for using her advocacy to remove offensive sports mascots from several Illinois schools. Hon. Bird has authored the publications: “Jumping Through Hoops: Traditional Healers and the Indian Health Care Act,” (1999) and “Making the Cross-Cultural Case; Educating the Judge about Race, Religion, and Ethnicity” (2004). Additionally, Hon. Bird has provided trainings on Native American Law and culture to the Illinois State Prosecutor’s Office, the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services, the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office, and the Interfaith Council for Social Justice. Hon. Bird was featured in the Illinois Department of Labor’s March 2000 “Highlights of the Progress of Women and Minorities in the Workforce.”
In 2008, Hon. Bird was appointed as an Acting Chief Judge / Associate Judge for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, where she served until 2011. In 2010, Hon. Bird was appointed to serve as an Associate Supreme Court Judge for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians and continues in that capacity today. Currently, Hon. Bird maintains a private practice in Traverse City, concentrating in matters of Native American, family, juvenile, criminal, civil, traffic, real estate, probate, employment and business law. Hon. Bird also served as the Civil Ground Coordinator for the Water Protectors Legal Collective, the leading legal service at the NoDAPL camp/protest in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She continues to volunteer for WPLC to date. She also founded and serves as the Executive Director for the MI Water Protectors Legal Task Force, a project of the National Lawyer’s Guild.
Hon. Bird is a certified Mediator, Peacemaker, Arbitrator, and serves as a pro-tem Appellate Judge for various Tribes. In 2013, Hon. Bird was awarded the prestigious American Arbitration Association’s 2013 Higginbotham Fellowship. For nearly ten years, Hon. Bird taught criminal justice classes for the University of Phoenix. Hon. Bird has served as a board member and mentor for the Grand Traverse Area Children’s Garden; and volunteer for the Leelanau Children’s Center and the Pathfinder