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Jodi Gillette exits White House and joins Indian law firm in DC

Former White House official Jodi Gillette speaks at a 2014 meeting of the United South and Eastern Tribes. Photo from USET

After eight years in the Obama administration, former White House advisor Jodi Gillette is starting a new chapter in her career of service to Indian Country.

Gillette, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, is joining Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, one of the oldest Indian law and policy firms in the nation. She will be working on tribal issues in the Washington, D.C., office.

"I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work within the administration on issues I care about very deeply -- issues that impact Indian country. I want to thank President Obama for that opportunity," Gillette said today. "And now, I am pleased that I will be joining with Sonosky Chambers, a leading firm in representing tribes. I have known this firm for many years, and I have great respect for their integrity and the work that they do. It will be a pleasure to join in their work for the benefit of Indian Country."

Gillette first joined the Obama administration in 2009 and served within the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, where helped tribes work with federal agencies. She then moved to the Interior Department, where she served as deputy assistant secretary for policy and economic development for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

She eventually returned to the White House to serve as the Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs and as the Special Assistant to President Barack Obama for Native American Affairs.

"At both the White House and the Interior Department, Jodi demonstrated great dedication and skill in her work on critical Indian issues, helping to shape effective Indian policy within the Administration. We are delighted that she is joining our firm, where she will be a tremendous asset to tribal governments across the country," said Mary Pavel. Pavel, a member of the Skokomish Tribe who heads up the government relations team team at Sonosky.

Pavel added: "I have known Jodi since we attended Dartmouth College together, and it is a special pleasure for me to welcome her to our firm."

Gillette, who worked on the president's 2008 campaign, was one of several Native women in high-profile jobs in the administration. Her colleagues included Kim Teehee, a member of the Cherokee Nation who was the first Native American affairs advisor at the White House and left to start her own law and policy firm; Hilary Tompkins, a member of the Navajo Nation, who serves as as Solicitor at the Department of the Interior; Yvette Roubideaux, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, who served as director of the Indian Health Service and now holds a post within the Department of Health and Human Services; and Lillian Sparks, also Rosebud Sioux, who serves as Commissioner at the Administration for Native Americans.

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