DC President Barack Obama has nominated Cherokee Nation citizen
Keith Harper of Washington, D.C., to an ambassador-rank post within
the United Nations.
On June 10, Obama announced Harper as his pick for U.S. representative
to the United Nations Human Rights Council. If confirmed by the
Senate, Harper would be the first Native American in an ambassador
The United Nations Human Rights Council addresses human rights
issues around the world. Prior U.S. representatives have included
former first last Eleanor Roosevelt and vice-presidential candidate
Harper is most well known for working on the Cobell trust fund
lawsuit since its inception in 1996. He began his career with the
Native American Rights Fund and joined the Kilpatrick Townsend &
Stockton firm in Washington before a settlement was announced in
Harper attended the New York University School of Law and the
University of California at Berkley.
He focuses his practice on litigation and Native American affairs.
Throughout his career, Harper has represented tribes and individual
Indians. He served as a principal advisor and chair of the Native
American Domestic Policy Committee for the Obama campaign and then
as a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team in the
Energy and Environment Cluster.
He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Rockefeller
Foundation NGL Fellowship, Skadden Fellowship, the University of
Arizona Indigenous Peoples Law Program Senior Fellowship, the American
Bar Association Business Law Division Ambassadorship, the Fowler
Fellowship for Public Policy, the Root-Tilden-Snow Scholarship and
the Center for International Studies Fellowship.
In 2001, he was selected as a Leadership Conference on Civil
Rights delegate to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban,