Sun Apr 29, 2012, 04:47 PM
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President Obama Announces Jodi Gillette as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs
April 27, 2012
North Dakota native Jodi Gillette will begin her second stint in the White House as part of the Barack Obama administration next week.
Gillette has served in the U.S. Department of the Interior as deputy assistant secretary for Indian Affairs since January 2011. On Monday she will step into the role of senior policy adviser for Native American Affairs.
Gillette, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, will be the second person to hold the position. She is filling a vacancy left by Kimberly Teehee, who is leaving to enter the private sector.
“I’m just really humbled and honored to be from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and (from) North Dakota and being tapped to provide leadership (here),” Gillette said. “We’re looking to advance the agenda that’s been put forward by the administration already.”
“We may be out here in the Beltway, but some of the things that happen out here do directly effect those out there,” Gillette said.
Jodi Archambault Gillette, Standing Rock Sioux, was named February 2011 by President Obama to serve in the White House as one of three deputy associate directors of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. No other American Indian ha(d) held the position, which is meant to serve as a conduit between tribal governments and the White House. Gillette previously served as the North Dakota First American vote director for Obama’s presidential campaign. Before joining the campaign, she was director of the Native American Training Institute, a tribally operated nonprofit. She has also long been a respected traditional Lakota dancer.
Gillette received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1991 in Government/Native American Studies. In 2002, she was awarded a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship and obtained her Master of Public Administration from the University of Minnesota.
Gillette’s role focuse(d) on overseeing Indian and tribal affairs in the office, which is dedicated to facilitating the exchange of information between governmental entities. In recent years, the office has largely served as a conduit between the White House and state and local governments . . . Politically-conscious American Indians (hailed) the appointment as extraordinary.
A statement released from the White House indicated that she “is committed to her tribe and people, in maintaining cultural life ways and beliefs of her ancestors.”
The third of seven children, Gillette attended Little Wound School, a tribally chartered grant institution on the reservation that’s funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Her father was an administrator of the school. Her mother was an educator with Montessori School certification. But it wasn’t just her parents’ pedagogic streaks that molded Gillette’s worldview. “Although I was surrounded by this abject poverty, the environment on the reservation was, and continues to be, a rich, traditional and close community with a strong foundation of Lakota values,” she says. “To the outside, reservations may seem hopeless. For those of us who call them home, reservations are filled with beauty, strengths, wisdom, assets and resilience that are truly amazing.”
. . . Only in 2008 did Gillette’s path start turning toward politics, when she became North Dakota director of Native Americans for Obama. Even after the campaign withdrew its staff from the state, Gillette continued get-out-the-vote efforts without pay. “I was doing it because I was tired of everybody accepting the way things were,” she says. “And that’s why I was considered for the position. I wasn’t doing it just for myself or to end up with a job.” (Obama lost the state but carried the tribal counties, which had record turnout.)
How much does her background matter to what she does now and how she executes? “The president has assembled a diverse team,” Gillette says. “Being raised on the reservation has given me a unique perspective that allows dialogue with tribal leaders to begin with solutions, even as we discuss the historical background of the challenges confronting Indian Country. Many Native- American political appointees also bring experience with tribal governments to their positions, which helps ensure that Indian Country’s concerns are understood by the administration.”
Anyone who has ever spent time with members of more than one Native tribe will tell you the needs and cultures differ widely. The largely agricultural Hopi of the Southwest, for example, are deemed a “sedentary tribe,” compared to the neighboring—and historically more nomadic—Navajo, with whom they have had historical clashes. What are the challenges for one Lakota representing 564 different tribes to the White House? “Being raised on the reservation does not make me an expert on all issues affecting Native Americans,” says Gillette. “I realize every time I have a meeting with a tribe that it is important to recognize the similarities among tribes as well as their differences. I have learned a tremendous amount about the diversity of tribal nations and I have gained an appreciation of the uniqueness of each, from the Arctic to the Everglades.
read more: http://dartmouthalumnimagazine.com/native-intelligence/
watch: Jodi Gillette testifies before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Oct. 25, 2011
from the WH: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/04/27/president-obama-announces-jodi-gillette-senior-policy-advisor-native-ame
WASHINGTON, DC – Today President Barack Obama announced the appointment of Jodi Gillette as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs. As a member of the Domestic Policy Council, Gillette will advise the President on issues impacting Indian Country.
“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,” said President Obama. “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."
Jodi Gillette, Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs, White House Domestic Policy Council
Jodi Gillette, an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota and South Dakota, was previously the Deputy Assistant Secretary to the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs for Policy and Economic Development in the U.S. Department of the Interior. Prior to joining the Assistant Secretary’s staff, she served as Deputy Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Associate Director of Public Engagement, where she was responsible for the communication and interaction between tribal nations and the White House. She played a key role in the White House Tribal Nations Conference in 2009 and 2010, where the President hosted tribal leaders from across the U.S.. Prior, Ms. Gillette had served as executive director of the Native American Training Institute in Bismarck, a non-profit offering technical assistance and training to tribal, state and local governments in the area of human service delivery systems. She also had served as an economic development planner for her tribe in Fort Yates, N.D. Ms. Gillette holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Native American Studies from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. (1991) and a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minneapolis (2003).
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President Obama Announces Jodi Gillette as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs (Original post)
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