Opinion

Women Leaders: Confirm Keith Harper for ambassador-rank job





Melanie Benjamin, JoAnn Chase, Lucille Echohawk, Holly Cook Macarro, Lori Pourier, Cara Cowan Watts and Karen Welmas support the nomination of Keith Harper, a member of the Cherokee Nation, to serve as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council:
We are writing this letter to convey our support of the nomination of Keith Harper as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council. We think the Senate should swiftly confirm him. We have all worked with Keith over many years as he has steadfastly advocated on behalf of tribes throughout this nation. He has been in the forefront of advocacy on behalf of Native peoples across the United States and for indigenous peoples internationally. Repeatedly, Keith has stood strong in the face of difficult odds to stand for what is right. We have come to know Keith well and have confidence in his professionalism, his high ethical standards and his keen capabilities and skills. For these reasons, we think President Obama’s choice is an excellent one.

We are aware that more than 100 Indian nations and more than 25 tribal, human rights and civil rights organizations from across the spectrum have endorsed and are excited about Keith’s nomination. What we have to add is a distinct voice—that of Native women who are tribal leaders, community leaders, educators and advocates. We know that Keith will bring both an understanding of issues that impact Native women and the capability to effectively seek redress for these issues.

Native American women in the United States are more likely to be victims of violent crime that any other racial-gender category. This same dynamic occurs for many indigenous women throughout the world. The lack of safety and security undermines virtually every other aspect of these women’s lives. Moreover, too often, indigenous women do not have the same opportunities to live free, productive lives and participate fully in the political, social and economic opportunities of the wider society. In short, Native women here and everywhere face grave challenges and Keith’s engagement of the Human Rights Council as Ambassador is a critical factor in addressing these challenges.

Get the Story:
Melanie Benjamin, JoAnn Chase, Lucille A. Echohawk, Holly Cook Macarro, Lori Pourier, Cara Cowan Watts and Karen Welmas: Prominent Native Women Advocate for Support of Keith Harper (Indian Country Today 2/28)

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