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The White House

President Obama Announces Kimberly Teehee as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs


Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          June 15, 2009

President Obama Announces Kimberly Teehee as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs
WASHINGTON – Today, in taped remarks to the 2009 National Congress of American Indians Mid-Year Conference, President Barack Obama announced the appointment of Kimberly Teehee as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs.  As a member of the Domestic Policy Council, Teehee will advise the President on issues impacting Indian Country.  President Obama also announced that the White House will hold a Tribal Nations Conference later this fall.

"Kim Teehee will be a tremendous asset to our team as we work to strengthen and build on the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the United States and tribal nations," said President Obama. "She is rightly recognized as an outstanding advocate for Indian Country, and she will provide a direct interface at the highest level of my Administration, assuring a voice for Native Americans during policy making decisions."

Kimberly K. Teehee, Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs, White House Domestic Policy Council
Since January of 1998, Teehee has served as a Senior Advisor to the House of Representatives Native American Caucus Co-Chair, Congressman Dale Kildee (D-MI).   A member of the Cherokee Nation, she has also served as the Director of Native American Outreach for the Presidential Inaugural Committee for President Clinton’s second Inauguration.  Prior to that, Teehee was the Deputy Director of Native American Outreach at the Democratic National Committee.  She has also held various positions with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, including serving as a Law Clerk in the Division of Law and Justice.  Teehee received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northeastern State University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa, College of Law.  While in law school, Teehee was honored with the Bureau of National Affairs Award and served in leadership positions in the National Native American Law Student Association and the Iowa Native American Law Student Association. 

President Obama’s taped remarks to the National Congress of American Indians Mid-Year Conference follow:

Good morning everyone.  I appreciate this opportunity to speak with you today and to express my admiration and support for the critical work NCAI does advocating for the rights and aspirations of American Indians and Alaska Natives.  I’m also pleased to have the chance to acknowledge your President, Joe Garcia, for his outstanding leadership in this regard.

As you all know, our nation is at a defining moment, facing challenges unlike any in our lifetime, both at home and abroad.  And as we work to rebuild our economy, strengthen our security and ensure that our children have every opportunity to fulfill their dreams, we’ll need every American and every community to get involved.

That is why I am committed to strengthening and building on the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the United States and tribal nations.  That commitment started with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provides over $3 billion in funding for Indian Country.  And it extends to our work to empower Native communities to address their pressing local priorities, starting with significant increases in the 2010 proposed budget for health care, law enforcement and education.  I recognize that this budget proposal does not make up for past deficiencies, but it does reflect my determination to work with you to reevaluate our spending priorities and include Native Americans in the national policy debate.  

These efforts will not be easy.  At times the pace of progress will be frustrating.  But I am confident that we can bring the change we need, particularly given the outstanding team of leaders and experts whom I’ve chosen to join my Administration.  Individuals like Larry Echo Hawk as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs; Yvette Roubideaux as Director of the Indian Health Service; Mary Smith as Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice; and Hilary Tomkins as Solicitor of the Department of Interior. 

I am also pleased to point out that Jodi Gillette of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who is a member of my White House Intergovernmental Affairs staff, is with you today.  And I am delighted to announce that someone many of you know -- Kim Teehee -- will soon be joining the White House Domestic Policy Council.

As we move forward, I want you to know that my staff and I are eager to engage with Indian Country on your priorities – to listen to you and learn from you.  I am particularly looking forward to meeting with many of you at the Tribal Nations Conference we will hold at the White House later this fall. 

Again, I thank you for your commitment.  I wish you much success in your discussion today, and I look forward to hearing about it from Jodi when she returns to Washington later this week.