Gertrude was born in Shiprock, NM, and grew up in a large family in Kirtland, NM. Gertrude’s father owned a body shop in Farmington and her mother raised eight children. As the youngest children, Gertrude and her twin sister saw their siblings leave home and start their own journeys including military service, college, post-graduate studies in engineering, business and law school. Gertrude learned the importance of hard work and perseverance from her parents. And from her siblings, she learned the importance of education and service. As a result, Gertrude set a high bar of achievement for herself.
After graduating from Kirtland Central High School, Gertrude went to college at Creighton University where she received the Fr. Richard J. Spillane Award for Contributions to Civic Life, Omicron Delta Kappa’s Outstanding Leader Award, and became a Morris K. Udall Scholar. Gertrude graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
Before attending law school, Gertrude completed the Pre-Law Summer Institution (PLSI) at UNM and received the Outstanding Student Award. She attended UNM School of Law and obtained her J.D. and Certificate in Indian Law. When Gertrude graduated from law school, she received the Mary Beth and W. Richard West Jr. Award for Excellence and Commitment to the Area of Indian Law and the Clinical Legal Education Outstanding Clinical Student Award.
Gertrude currently lives in the town she grew up in with many family members nearby. Spending time with extended family is an important part of her life.
Gertrude holds a license to practice law in both the State of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. She currently works as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Eleventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Farmington. The majority of her cases involve felony crimes.
Gertrude started her career as a prosecutor in Gallup where she worked her way up from an Associate Attorney to a Deputy District Attorney. In 2016, Gertrude left the District Attorney’s Office to become the Chief Prosecutor of the Navajo Nation. During her time as Chief Prosecutor, Gertrude managed 10 prosecutor officers located across the Navajo Nation. In addition to supervision of an office responsible for all adult and juvenile criminal prosecution, child abuse and/or neglect matters, and children in need of services matters on behalf of the Navajo Nation, Gertrude was in charge of the administrative tasks, which included preparing program budgets, applying for federal grants, developing legal and professional training for staff, and coordinating with federal law enforcement to respond to violent crime. When Gertrude’s appointment as Chief Prosecutor ended, she moved back home to Kirtland to spend more time with family and to continue her work as a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office in Farmington.
Barbara V. Johnson
Gertrude is actively involved in her community through her work with her church. While in Gallup, Gertrude volunteered at her parish, the Sacred Heart Cathedral, teaching religious education. She was also a member of the church choir and cantor. In Kirtland, Gertrude continues to sing with her local parish’s choir. Additionally, Gertrude is the Crownpoint District Bar Commissioner for the Navajo Nation Bar Association (NNBA) and regularly volunteers to teach continuing legal education courses for the NNBA.