Mary Pember: NCAI President Keel lists tribal priorities
"Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians, delivered the 8th annual State of Indian Affairs address January 29 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C..

Keel, as readers may recall, is the same guy who introduced President Obama at the Tribal Nations Conference last year. After introducing Obama, Keel questioned the President about the Supreme Court ruling in Carcieri v. Salazar, that restricts the Department of the Interior from taking land into trust for those tribes that were federally recognized after the Indian Reorganizion Act of 1934. Tribes want to use trust land to build housing and other community facilities.

Dressed in a nicely tailored pin-stripe suit and subdued Indian-inspired bolo tie, Keel appears a bit more stylistically reserved than many of his predecessors. This reserve, however, may belie a willingness to hold the administration's feet to the fire for promises made to Indian Country.

Keel, who is also Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, rated unemployment as the top priority for Indian communities. He noted that the current American jobless rate of 10 percent has made headlines, yet unemployment on many reservations and Indian communities stands above 50 percent and has been this high for decades."

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: Keel Names Urgent Tribal Priorities (The Daily Yonder 2/2)

Relevant Documents:
Webcast | Transcript of Speech | FY2011 Indian Country Budget Request | Seven Transformative Actions for the Obama Administration to Create Jobs and Bring Change to Tribal Nation Communities

Related Stories:
NCAI President Keel to deliver State of Indian Nations (1/29)