Washington D.C. Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw, is President of the
National Congress of America Indians. On Thursday,
January 26, Keel presented the Annual State
of Indian Nations address at the Newseum, Knight Studios, in
Washington. The nationally broadcast speech was
presented in front of a packed studio audience which
included tribal chairmen and members of the U.S. Senate and
House of Representatives.
"This may be the best speech he ever made. It was very strong,
"said Matt Wesaw, chairman of the Pokagon Potawatomi
Indians, based in Dowagiac, Michigan
President Keel spoke for just over 30 minutes to
rounds of applause.
He called upon President Barack Obama to act
on these issues for American Indians:
A Nation-to-Nation Relationship with Congress: "First, we call on the President to send a Special
Message to Congress on the importance of the
Nation-to-Nation Relationship. In 1970, President Nixon sent
a historic message to Congress on tribal self-determination.
That message launched the self-determination era - the very
framework that allowed tribes to prove our capacity as
governments. All Presidents should do the same."
the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples "Second, we call on the President to fully implement the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples. We specifically call for a review of all existing
federal law to ensure they are in alignment with the
Annual Nation-to-Nation Summit and ongoing high-level
meetings "Third, we call for an Annual Nation-to-Nation Summit and
ongoing high-level meetings. This would institutionalize the
current Tribal Nations Summit, a meaningful commitment to
our nation-to-nation relationship that must be upheld by all
future Presidents. We also call on the President to convene
regular meetings on specific issues between tribal leaders
and cabinet secretaries."
Native people in the federal government. "Fourth, elevate Native people in the federal government.
It is past time for qualified Native people to be seated on
the federal bench. The appointment of a Senior Advisor on
Native American Affairs has advanced policymaking at the
White House and we applaud President Obama for his
leadership. With the importance of the Indian budget in the
coming decade, we urge the creation of an office for Native
American programs at Office of Management Budget."
engage Indian Country in all candidates' campaigns "And finally, we call upon all candidates to actively
engage Indian Country in your campaign. We invite each
candidate to visit Indian Country to outline your policy
positions. We also urge the campaigns to make sure tribal
nations are part of the discussion at the Presidential
President Keel discussed
the importance of American Indians in the 2012 election process.
He invited presidential candidates to campaign in Indian
After President Keel's speech, Representative
Tom Cole (R-OK) called on American Indians to think
in terms of “self-determination; self-governance and
Keel's address Rep Tom Cole, Chickasaw, offered this
Native people don't see the world in two and four
year election cycles. We're focused on building stronger
communities for generations to come ... When we step in
the ballot box, we want to vote for candidates who will
stand with tribal nations to create a strong prosperous
future. We are not mobilizing for one party or for one
candidate. Indians don't just vote D for Democrat or R for
Republican. For us, it's "I" for Indian."
of Representative member, Tom Cole (R-OK)
House of Representative
member, Tom Cole (R-OK) is an enrolled member of
the Chickasaw Nation and the only Native
American serving in Congress..He was awarded the
Congressional Leadership ward by the National
Congress of American Indians in 2007 and was
inducted in the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2004.
Cole's late mother, Helen,
is also a member of the Chickasaw Hall of Fame
and served as a state representative, state
senator and Mayor of Moore in her native state
Cole's late father, John, served twenty years in
the United States Air Force and worked an
additional two decades as a civilian federal
employee at Tinker Air Force Base.
Tom and his wife Ellen, have one son, Mason, and
reside in Moore, Oklahoma
Thank you to ALL the wonderful individuals, friends,
organizations, groups, news services and websites who share or donate their research, work, time and
talents to make Native Village possible In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed
without profit or payment for non-profit research, archival, news, and
educational purposes only.
NATIVE VILLAGE website was created for youth, educators, families, and friends
who wish to celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of The Americas' First Peoples.
We offer readers two monthly publications: NATIVE VILLAGE Youth and Education
News and NATIVE VILLAGE Opportunities and Websites. Each issue shares
today's happenings in Indian country. NATIVE VILLAGE also houses website
libraries and informational materials to enrich all lives on Turtle Island.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written in full by the credited author at
the credited source link. We are responsible for format changes and additional
photos, art, and graphics which boost visual appeal and add dimension to
the reading experience. Pictures and graphics not appearing with the original
article are either credited on the page or by right-clicking the picture. Some
may be free or by sources unknown.
Please contact us with any copyright
corrections so we may properly credit the source.
We are not responsible for changes to outside websites and weblinks. Please
notify us if any problems arise.