Milestone: Rep. Kilmer Gets Recognition From National Native American Organization

On Feb. 11, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) received the 2020 Congressional Leadership Award from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), an organization Kilmer’s office notes is “the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the interests of tribal governments and communities.”

Kilmer, who represents 11 Native American tribes, was recognized for his work in creating economic opportunity in tribal communities and advocating for reforms to ensure the federal government is more responsive to tribal needs.

NCAI pointed to Rep. Kilmer’s leadership in pushing for the groundbreaking 2018 report, “Broken Promises: Continuing Federal Funding Shortfall for Native Americans,” authored by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which examines the federal government’s failure to meet treaty and trust responsibilities to Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

Kilmer was also recognized for his leadership on the Appropriations Committee as well as his commitment to supporting legislation that respects tribal sovereignty and creates parity for tribal communities within existing federal laws.

“Each of the sovereign nations I represent has their own unique culture, traditions, and stories that add important threads to the fabric of our region and our nation,” Kilmer said in a press release last week.

“Their willingness to share their stories, to educate me, to work with me to build a brighter future, gives me hope.”

W. Ron Allen, Tribal Chair/CEO of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, said in the release, “Derek Kilmer has always been a man of the highest integrity and character. Early in his life he wanted to understand Tribes and our cultures. Not just in the northwest corner of Washington State but throughout Indian Country. Even though he is in the early phases of his career in Congress, he has already had an enormous positive impact. He is a friend of the Tribes and is making a difference.”

NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights.

Source: Sequim Gazette