Despite that relative youth, Thunder did not adversely affect her new responsibilities. Its restart includes stints with the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, of whom she is a registered member and worked as a staff attorney on contracts which was easing the Department of Labor's two-year budget amount under $ 3 million.
As a result of the small size of the Indian Affairs Commission, the state agency in which she worked recently, Thunder was involved in a wide range of issues concerning North Dakota tribes.
"I was always in this area where the weight of my shoulder was present but I had no worries," she said. "I knew I had a job in hand."
Latest Cabinet appointment can Gov. Doug Burgum has become an early sign of changing demographics in the workplace. Millennials as Thunder were the largest generation in the US workforce last year, said the Pew Research Center.
In North Dakota, the median age has decreased over the last ten years and was below the national figure in 2017, according to census figures. Thunder said that the state has many opportunities for young professionals.
"I was for me," she said.
Thunder appointment can also be the first time a tribal member in charge of a North Dakota state agency outside the Indian Affairs Commission, which is responsible for acting as a liaison between state governments and tribal governments. Scott Davis, the commission's executive director, did not remember another case.
"She just has become a woman and just happened as a MHA tribal member very proud," he said. "She got the credentials."
Thunder said she was “very proud” because she seemed to be a barrier.
Burgum, a Republican who has improved tribal relations as a theme for his administration, approached Thunder's ability to address issues of impartiality and compassion and his commitment to fairness and justice when his appointment was announced last month.
After growing up in Bottineau, N.D., Thunder earned an undergraduate and legal degree from the University of North Dakota. She joined the Indian Affairs Commission as a judicial system administrator at the end of 2016.
Davis asked Thunder to be a clever and approachable public servant with "thick skin" to handle some controversial and complex issues in his department. He recommended that she “keep everyone on the same page” in the search for Olivia Lone Bear, the missing Newtown woman for months before being found dead within a truck drawn from Lake Sakakawea last summer.
During this year's legislative session, Thunder helped to promote bills by identifying the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a federal law enforcement entity and by adjusting a large tribal oil tax agreement, Davis said.
"She has gained a lot of credibility in the committee rooms and in both houses under her approach," he said.
Thunder is now tasked with overseeing an agency that implements the state's labor and human rights laws and trains workers and employers under these statutes. It is a lean agency made up of 14 full-time jobs.
Thunder took over from Michelle Kommer, who was appointed to the Department of State Commerce last year. Kommer said she was "happy" with a Thunder appointment.
"I gave the advice to herself," she said. "I think she will be very successful."