Gyasi Ross: Keith Harper makes history as nominee for UN post

Gyasi Ross urges Indian Country to 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:
Keith Harper is a member of the Cherokee Tribe who was nominated to be the FIRST Native person to be a Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

What exactly does that mean? Honestly, I’m not too sure. But I DO know it’s a very important position at the United Nations. I DO know that it will allow a lot of folks to see how WELL Native people can do an important job. And most importantly, I DO know that no Native person has done it before.

That’s a big deal.

But honestly, I don’t really give a damn about the specifics of the job. Obviously somebody very powerful thinks that this Indian man, Keith Harper, is good enough at his job to offer him a very powerful position. Even more honestly, I don’t really give a damn about Keith Harper­—I’m a community dude, a Rez dude and prefer when Natives work within Indian Country and make a difference here. BUT…What I DO care about is Natives making history. I DO care about Natives making the impossible possible. I DO care about SMASHING those stereotypes that said that we weren’t smart enough to do certain jobs. And when it’s all said and done, I think that Keith Harper working in the UN is as important to Native people as my son will be when he’s elected President or as important as Marshall Henderson or Bronson Koenig will be when they are the first Natives playing in the NBA or Jude and Shoni Schimmel will be when they are the first Native sisters playing in the WNBA (of course, Navajo legend Reynaldi Becenti was the first Native to play in the WNBA).

Keith Harper is Jackie Robinson for Native people—there has NEVER been a Native who has played at this level of politics before. Period. That’s important and will benefit ALL Native people. Anybody who doesn’t see that is blind.

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: Keith Harper, Shoni, Jude and Jackie: Supporting Native Trailblazers (Indian Country Today 2/28)

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