NNABA Applauds the Historic Confirmation of Keith Harper

For Immediate Release, June 3, 2014
Contact: Mary L. Smith (202) 236-0339

NNABA APPLAUDS THE HISTORIC CONFIRMATION OF KEITH HARPER TO BE UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL PHOENIX ”The National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) applauds the historic confirmation of Keith Harper as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Harper will be the first Native American and the first enrolled tribal member to serve as an Ambassador for the United States. Harper was confirmed by a vote of 52 to 42.

“In September 2014, the U.N. General Assembly will be holding the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and Ambassador Harper’s representation of the United States at this conference”as both an American Indian and a lawyer”will send a clear signal of our country’s commitment to both the rights of indigenous peoples and the rule of law,” said Mary Smith, NNABA president.

An enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, Harper is one of the leading lawyers in the country. During his legal career, Harper has advocated for the civil rights and human rights of Native Americans in the U.S. and indigenous peoples around the globe. Harper is currently a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and heads the Native American Practice Group.

“The rights of indigenous peoples are often deliberated by the various bodies of the U.N. Ambassador Harper has worked to ensure that the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been a prominent topic within the various U.N. human rights bodies,” said Smith.

Following his graduation from New York University School of Law, Harper joined the Washington office of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). While at NARF, Harper represented the National Congress of American Indians in negotiations before the Organization of American States and the U.N. and he was a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights delegation to the World Conference of Racism in Durban, South Africa. Harper has also served as Appellate Justice on the highest court of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and on the Supreme Court of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Founded in 1973, NNABA serves as the national association for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NNABA strives for justice and effective legal representation for all American indigenous peoples; fosters the development of Native American lawyers and judges; and addresses social, cultural and legal issues affecting American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.

For more information contact 480-727-0420 or visit www.nativeamericanbar.org.