President Shelly lauds U.S. Senate confirmation of Keith Harper as UN Ambassador

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Contact: Rick Abasta
Communications Director
Office of the Navajo Nation President and Vice President

For Immediate Release

President Shelly lauds U.S. Senate confirmation of Keith Harper as UN Ambassador

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz.—For the first time, a Native American has been selected as ambassador to the United Nations.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly praised the U.S. Senate confirmation of Keith Harper. Harper is a tribal member of the Cherokee Nation.

“Keith’s confirmation is of great accomplishment for all of Indian Country,” President Shelly said. “He will be the first citizen of a federally recognized tribe to serve as a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

“We congratulate Keith and his family on his confirmation and thank the Senate for taking action on this important role,” he added.

Harper is a partner at the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, where he is chair of the Native American Practice Group. 

He currently serves as a member on President Obama’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Prior to his current role, Harper was senior staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund from 1995 to 2006. 

From 2007 to 2008, he served as a Supreme Court Justice on the Supreme Court of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and from 2001 to 2007, he served as an Appellate Justice on the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court. 

From 1998 to 2001, he was an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, and from 1999 to 2001, he was a Professorial Lecturer at the American University Washington College of Law. 

Harper was a law clerk to Lawrence W. Pierce on the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. 

He began his career as a litigation associate with Davis, Polk & Wardwell in New York. Harper received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.