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Indianz.Com Video: Elizabeth Reese: Addressing Violence in Native Communities – VAWA Title IX Special Jurisdiction
New Native adviser set to join President Biden at White House
Thursday, April 13, 2023

President Joe Biden is welcoming a new Native adviser to the White House, the third of his administration.

Elizabeth Hidalgo Reese is a citizen of the Pueblo of Nambé, one of the six Tewa language speaking tribes in northern New Mexico. She comes to federal service from Stanford Law School, where she was the first ever Native faculty member.

“She’s awesome,” an expert in tribal law and policy told Indianz.Com on Wednesday.

Stanford: Meet Our Faculty: Elizabeth Reese

Reese is no stranger to Washington, D.C. She previously served as an attorney at the National Congress of American Indians, where she advised the tribal advocacy organization on a major law and policy issue — protecting Native women from violence.

During her time at NCAI, she authored a key report that explained how tribes have been exercising their sovereignty following the inclusion of historic provisions in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2013. Her work led to an updated version of the law that expands on the ways in which tribes can hold all perpetrators, regardless of race, responsible for crimes in their communities.

“It is time to get out of the way and let tribal governments do as much as they can in the fight to protect Native women,” Reese said in Congressional testimony that explained why federal statutes like VAWA must recognize tribal sovereignty. Biden signed the most recent version of the law in 2022.

Elizabeth Reese
Elizabeth Reese appears on a video screen as she provides testimony remotely to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on December 10, 2021. Photo: SCIA

Reese did not immediately respond to a request for comment placed via email on Wednesday evening. But two people close to the situation confirmed her arrival to the Biden administration, with both highlighting her role as the president’s new adviser on Native policy.

A third person, meanwhile, confirmed that the president’s prior Native adviser was no longer in the post. Daron Carreiro, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, had been serving as Senior Policy Advisor for Native Affairs on the White House Domestic Policy Council since April 2021.

Carreiro had been detailed to the White House from the Department of Justice, and he has since returned to that federal agency, two of the sources said. He has worked on Indian law cases as a trial attorney at DOJ.

Prior to Carreiro, Elizabeth “Libby” Washburn began serving as the Special Assistant to the President for Native Affairs since the start of the Biden administration. She too is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation.

During his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden promised to install a high-level Native policy aide at the White House. He also reinstated the annual White House Tribal Nations Summit to hear directly from tribes and their leadership.

Besides Reese, the White House team includes PaaWee Rivera who serves as Senior Advisor to the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and as Director of Tribal Affairs. He is a citizen of the Pueblo of Pojoaque, another Tewa speaking tribe in New Mexico.