Tribal leaders Jeff Grubbe, chairman, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians; Leonard Forsman, chairman, Suquamish Tribe; Rodney A. Butler, chairman, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation; Louis Manuel Jr., chairman, Ak-Chin Indian Community; George Rivera, governor, Pueblo of Pojoaque have written a letter in support of the Administration’s nomination of Keith Harper as the United States Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The letter is as follows:
It is with great pleasure and pride that we recognize Keith Harper, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, whom President Barack Obama has nominated to be the United States Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council, with the rank of Ambassador. This is a position that no member of a federally recognized Tribe has ever held and continues to show the respect this administration has for inclusion of Native Americans at the highest levels of public service. While Keith’s nomination is historic, it is not necessarily unexpected for the Obama Administration. That is because President Obama has demonstrated in word and deed that he will seek out the most qualified person for a job, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.
Keith is an attorney who has worked tirelessly on behalf of Tribes and Native people for his entire career and will bring this perspective and experience to his work on behalf of human rights on a global scale. He has served as a judge for several tribal courts taught as an adjunct professor for several law schools and served as an advisor to Tribes and tribal members as an attorney. In that role, he has fought for religious freedom and to protect sacred sites, worked diligently to remedy trust account mismanagement. In addition to his work on Native American legal issues he is experienced in the issues that he will be called upon to represent the interests of the United States and victims of Human Rights abuses around the world. This has included assisting in representing the National Congress of American Indians in its negotiations with the United Nations regarding the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Keith is universally recognized as one of the preeminent lawyers in the U.S. He was elected as a member of the American Law Institute (2012), received the Native American Bar Association of D.C. Award for Significant Contributions to Indian Law and Policy (2012), was selected as a “Lawdragon 500” (top 500 lawyers in the United States) (2010), was named one of 50 “Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal (5/26/08), was named one of fourteen “Rainmakers” nationwide by Diversity & The Bar Magazine (11/2008), was recognized by the Third National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference for Achievements and Commitment to Justice (2010), was listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2009-2012), was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® (2009-2013), and was listed as a Washington D.C. "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyers magazine (2010, 2012-2013).
The President has taken note of Keith’s long, distinguished career and has nominated him based on it for this historic position. Keith’s experience will serve him well in representing the U.S. and all of its Tribal Nations at the United Nations. Again, we hope you will join us in helping to shatter the glass ceiling for Natives at the Ambassador level by calling for Keith’s immediate confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
Jeff Grubbe, chairman, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
Leonard Forsman, chairman, Suquamish Tribe
Rodney A. Butler, chairman, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
Louis Manuel Jr., chairman, Ak-Chin Indian Community
George Rivera, governor, Pueblo of Pojoaque