After a more than eight-year absence, there's finally a Native
person in the White House.
Jodi Archambault Gillette, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
was named to a top post by President Barack Obama
. She will be
serving as a deputy associate director in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
In choosing Gillette, Obama cited a need for a diverse administration.
He wants to ensure American Indians and Alaska Natives have a voice at the White House.
"As we work to serve the American people and make this White House as
open and transparent as possible, it's essential that we hear from citizens in all our communities,"
Obama said on Friday.
Gillette's selection marks the first time a Native person has
served in a top White House position since the Clinton era.
Former president George W. Bush filled the Office of Intergovernmental
Affairs, which deals with tribes, states and local governments,
The appointment isn't the only one that will benefit Indian Country either.
Still open is a separate White House post that Obama promised
to create to fulfill his vision of a
"nation-to-nation relationship" between tribes and the United
Gillette helped get out the Native vote
for Obama's historic campaign. Her background is in tribal government,
public policy and community development,
having served as director of the non-profit
Native American Training Institute
in North Dakota.
"She is committed to her tribe and people, in maintaining cultural
life ways and beliefs of her ancestors," the White House said
Tribes and Alaska Natives
will turn to Gillette in their dealings with the government.
The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs serves as a liaison
between the White House and numerous federal agencies and helps
coordinate activities throughout the executive branch.
Gillette has hit the ground running in her new post.
She's scheduled to appear before the United South and Eastern
this morning, along with Keith Harper, a prominent
attorney and Cherokee Nation
member who is on Obama's
Obama tapped a record seven Native people for the transition,
an effort that has put another Native woman in Washington.
, a member of the
Oglala Sioux Tribe
Dakota, is the principal adviser for tribal affairs
at the Department of Health and Human Services
Other Native people are expected to fill posts throughout
the administration. Obama will be nominating leaders for
the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Office of the Special Trustee for
, the National Indian Gaming Commission
the Indian Health Service
Administration for Native
and the Office of Indian Education at the
Department of Education
White House Announcement:
President Obama Announces More Key White House Staff
(February 6, 2009)
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