Former U.S. Ambassador
Keith Harper, left, with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II at the United Nations.
Photo: U.S. Mission in
Indian Country's representative to the world has returned to Washington, D.C., after a stint at the United Nations.
Keith Harper, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, stepped down as the U.S. Ambassador to the United
Nations Human Rights Council on January 18. A flag ceremony was held at the State Department that day to mark the formal conclusion of his service.
“I was humbled and feel distinctly privileged to serve this great nation and President Obama while representing the U.S. at the United Nations Human Rights Council to promote the protection of all human rights around the globe,” Harper said on Thursday as he announced he was rejoining the Kilpatrick Townsend law and lobbying firm, where he worked prior to his diplomatic service.
In addition to getting back into the private sector, Harper has been active on Twitter, sharing his views on foreign policy, international developments and, yes, Republican President
Donald Trump. Although he planned to leave the ambassador's post no matter who won the November election, Harper was supportive of Democrat Hillary Clinton and has been extremely critical of the new occupant of the White House.
"Alienating allies, embracing antagonist like #Putin - this is just the first week," Harper said in a January 26 missive. Recent posts have focused on Trump's controversial ban on certain refugees and the president's stance on immigration.
Harper was the first member of a federally recognized tribe to serve in an ambassador-level post. During his time at the U.N., he welcomed tribal leaders like Chairman Dave Archambault II of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to Geneva, Switzerland, and placed a priority on addressing violence against indigenous women and girls.
“Our firm is proud of Keith’s service to the country as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council,” said Henry Walker, the chair of the Kilpatrick Townsend firm. “Before he was an ambassador, Keith helped build our prominent and growing Native American practice. We are excited to have him back as a partner in that practice after serving in such an important role for our nation.”
Harper is well known for his work on the Cobell trust fund lawsuit. As an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, he was part of the legal team that filed the lawsuit in June 1996. The Obama administration settled the case for $3.4 billion.
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Harper thanks tribes for backing historic nomination (07/01)
Harper: Eliminating violence against indigenous women (06/25)
Harper discusses racism against Native peoples (06/19)
Harper heads to United Nations for next session (06/05)
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Harper clears first Senate vote for ambassador-rank job (06/03)
Tribes: Confirm Keith Harper to ambassador post (06/02)
Manuel: Senate set to make history in Keith Harper vote (06/02)
John Baker: Keith Harper makes history for Cherokee Nation (05/30)
Presidents: Confirm Keith Harper to ambassador-rank job (05/29)
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Tester presses for confirmation of three Indian nominees (05/12)
rights leaders press for confirmation of Keith Harper to UN job (03/31)
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Leaders: Confirm Keith Harper to UN human rights post (03/07)
Ross: Keith Harper makes history as nominee for UN post (03/04)
Leaders: Confirm Keith Harper for ambassador-rank job (02/28)
Gray: Keith Harper ready to serve in UN human rights post (02/27)
Confirm Keith Harper for UN human rights council job (02/25)
panel approves Keith Harper nomination for UN post (02/05)
resubmits Keith Harper nomination for UN council job (01/08)
panel supports Keith Harper in ambassador-rank post (12/19)
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Tribe: No dispute about Keith Harper's work (10/02)
Harper faces hostile Sen. McCain at nomination hearing (09/25)
Harper set for confirmation hearing to ambassador post (09/20)
Nation Council backs Keith Harper for ambassador (07/17)