President Barack Obama confirmed what Indian Country Today Media Network reported on April 26, when he announced the appointment of Jodi Gillette as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs in a press release on April 27.
Gillette, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, will be taking over for Kimberly Teehee, a member of the Cherokee Nation, who is leaving her position within the White House for a position with Mapetsi policy group, a small legal and lobbying firm, founded by tribal advocate Debbie Ho with the aim of preserving tribal sovereignty as reported by ICTMN on April 26.
Gillette will pick up where Teehee left off advising the President on issues impacting Indian country according to the release.
“Jodi Gillette will be an important member of my Administration’s efforts to continue the historic progress we’ve made to strengthen and build on the government-to-government relationship between the United States and tribal nations,” President Obama said in the release. “She has been a key member of my administration’s efforts for Indian country, and will continue to ensure that Native American issues will always have a seat at the table.”
Gillette was a part of the Obama Administration early on when she held the position of the Deputy Assistant Secretary to the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs for Policy and Economic Development in the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Gillette’s experience prior to joining the secretary’s staff included Deputy Associate Director of Intergovernmental affairs and Associate Director of Public Engagement. While in that role she was in charge of all communication and interaction with tribal nations and the White House; playing an integral role in the White House Tribal Nations Conference in 2009 and 2010.