Tahlequah Daily Press

July 16, 2013

CN supports nomination of citizen to U.N. council

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council on Monday unanimously  passed a resolution supporting President Barack Obama’s recent nomination of a Cherokee citizen to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Keith M. Harper, a Washington attorney, was an integral part of the team in the Cobell land settlement, a federal class-action suit amounting to $3.4 billion in payments to qualifying American Indian landowners. The appointment as U.S. representative to the UN council in Geneva carries the rank of ambassador.

Councilor Cara Cowan-Watts was a sponsor of the act.

“Keith is known for many things,” said Cowan-Watts. “For those who applied for funds through the Cobell settlement, you have Keith to thank for that. He really drove that to fruition. [Pending confirmation] he will be the first federally-recognized tribal citizen to serve in such a capacity.”

In other busines, the council approved an act relating to funding for the Cherokee Nation Head Start program. The legislation will provide a 12.5 percent match of federal funds to ensure the program’s success.

The council also passed a resolution opposing human trafficking, and supporting prevention and services to trafficking victims. According to Miss Cherokee Kristi Kingfisher, Oklahoma is a hub of human trafficking, due to the number of interstate highways located here. One of the platforms of Kingfisher’s campaign is prevention of the crime.