Indianz.Com > News > Chickasaw Nation citizen lands Native advisor role at White House
Daron Carreiro
Daron Carreiro is seen a photo posted on a public social media profile.
Chickasaw Nation citizen lands Native advisor role at White House
Wednesday, April 27, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House has a new Native advisor in the second year of Joe Biden’s presidency.

Daron Carreiro, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, began serving as the Senior Policy Advisor for Native Affairs on the White House Domestic Policy Council in April. He recently updated one of his social media profiles to reflect his new role in the Biden administration.

Carreiro comes to the White House after nearly a decade at the Department of Justice. He served as a trial attorney in DOJ’s Indian Resources Section, where he worked on a number of high-profile cases, including several that resulted in significant victories for tribes across the nation.

One of the most recent cases led to victory for the Yakama Nation in a long-running dispute in Washington state. With the United States acting as trustee for the tribe, the federal courts confirmed that the Yakama Reservation includes sacred areas that were promised to the Yakama people by the Treaty of 1855.

“The Yakama Nation will never compromise when our Treaty is at stake,” Chairman Delano Saluskin said last week, after the U.S. Supreme Court finally put an end to litigation that Carreiro supported as a federal government attorney.

Carreiro’s legal expertise can also be seen in other cases seeking to affirm and strengthen tribal sovereignty throughout Indian Country. Through his work at DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, he has litigated in support of tribal water rights, tribal taxation and tribal jurisdiction, according to court filings. He also has defended federal agency actions that have been carried out in accordance of the trust and treaty responsibility of the U.S.

“He’s awesome,” an Indian law and policy expert told Indianz.Com on Wednesday. “Quiet, nice and super smart.”

The White House has not publicly announced Carreiro’s role, which comes 15 months into Biden’s presidency. A request for comment about the position was placed late in the afternoon, Eastern Time, on Wednesday.

About a year ago, on March 5, 2021, the White House announced Elizabeth “Libby” Washburn as the Special Assistant to the President for Native Affairs. She had joined the new administration not long after Biden took office earlier in the year, Indianz.Com reported at the time.

NATV: Interview with Libby Washburn

Like Carreiro, Washburn is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. She quickly put her wealth of experience in Indian and policy to work in Washington, D.C., helping secure over $45 billion in federal investments for tribal communities, through COVID-19 relief, infrastructure and appropriations packages that the White House helped push through the 117th Congress.

“I think that it’s a historic moment — definitely the most money that we’ve ever put in one single place, into tribal infrastructure,” Washburn said in an on-camera interview with NATV last November, following the White House Tribal Nations Summit that Biden revived after a four-year absence.

The Biden administration has not publicly announced any changes in the Native team at the White House. The request for comment also included an inquiry about Washburn’s role.

But there have been some recent changes affecting Indian law and policy in the nation’s capital. Last Thursday, the Department of the Interior announced the appointment of Tracy Canard Goodluck, a citizen of the Oneida Nation from Wisconsin, as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.

Indianz.Com on Twitter
New political appointments at the Department of the Interior, announced April 21, 2022.

Goodluck, an attorney, most recently served as a detail to the White House Domestic Policy Council and to the White House Council on Native American Affairs at the White House. In those roles, she had been working closely with Washburn, among other political appointees at the White House.

At Interior, Goodluck will now be working with another Biden administration appointee — Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland, a citizen of the Bay Mills Indian Community. Previously, she served as deputy director of the department’s Indian Water Rights Office, which helps negotiate and implement billions of dollars in water rights settlements for tribal nations.

Also announced last Thursday was the appointment of Joel West Williams, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, as the Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs at Interior. In this role within the Office of the Solicitor, he will provide legal counsel and representation to Secretary Deb Halaand, who is the first Native person to lead the department, on Indian issues. The deputy solicitor also provides legal advice to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Williams comes to federal service from the Native American Rights Fund, one of the leading voices in Indian law and policy. His portfolio at the non-profit included the Tribal Supreme Court Project, which helped coordinate legal strategy for cases that end up before the nation’s highest court.

“I am thrilled to welcome a new group of talented and accomplished individuals to the Interior leadership team. As Interior works across America to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other critical investments that will benefit communities, ecosystems and wildlife, these leaders will offer tremendous support, perspectives and vision,” said Rachael Taylor, Chief of Staff to Secretary Haaland, said in announcing Goodluck, Williams and two other political appointees at the department.

Note: Thumbnail photo by Adam Schultz / White House