February 12, 2020

Kilmer Receives Recognition from Nation’s Largest Native American Organization

Award Acknowledges Rep. Kilmer’s Efforts to Create Jobs in Indian Country and Make Government Work Better for Tribal Communities

Washington, DC – On Tuesday, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) received the 2020 Congressional Leadership Award from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the interests of tribal governments and communities.

Rep. 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 continued failure to meet its treaty and trust responsibilities to Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Rep. 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. Their willingness to share their stories, to educate me, to work with me to build a brighter future, gives me hope,” said Rep. Kilmer. “For generations, the federal government has failed to uphold the promises made to Native Americans in our region and across the country. I’m working to change that – and I’m committed to doing all that I can to ensure the federal government honors its trust and treaty obligations. I’m also working to make sure we’re creating more economic opportunities for tribal communities and to ensure the federal government works for everyone. I’m honored to receive this award – and I’ll keep fighting for Indian Country.”

“From the very first day he began representing the 6th Congressional District of Washington, Congressman Kilmer has worked tirelessly to ensure the federal government honors its trust and treaty obligations to Tribes. He has been an important leader in Congress on issues critical to Tribes including climate change, expanding self-governance and fully funding the BIA and Indian Health Services. I would like to thank Congressman Kilmer for his invaluable support of Tribal Nations and congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition.” - President Fawn Sharp, Quinault Indian Nation

“Rep. Kilmer has been a great federal partner. He takes the trust responsibility seriously and he always makes the needs of the tribes of his district and the nation a priority. I'm proud to have Derek as the Suquamish Tribe's Representative and as a good friend.” - Chairman Leonard Forsman, Suquamish Tribe

“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.” - W. Ron Allen, Tribal Chair/CEO, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

“We can think of no one better to receive the NCAI 2020 Congressional Leadership Award then our own WA-6th District Representative Derek Kilmer. Since his very first term in office Congressman Kilmer, his entire staff and family have shown Makah and our neighboring Tribes in the Pacific Northwest a high level of respect and a strong commitment to upholding policies of self-determination and federal trust responsibility – traits that should serve as a model for the rest of the Country.” - Makah Tribal Council Chairman T.J. Greene

“The Hoh people raise our hands up in thanks to Rep. Kilmer for his tireless efforts and hard work on our behalf and his leadership in the U.S. Congress. Rep. Kilmer’s record of standing strong to address climate change, protect treaty rights, and support tribal sovereignty have been invaluable to Hoh and to tribes across the country.” - Chairwoman Dawn Gomez, Hoh Tribe

“It’s always encouraging when you see leaders actively participating with the communities they represent. That’s Congressman Kilmer, who has always been very hands-on in trying to understand our Tribe’s needs and supportive of programs, like Re-Entry, that help people improve and better their lives. He is thoughtful and compassionate, and I am grateful for his partnership and leadership. He is a deserving recipient of the 2020 Congressional Leadership Award, and I congratulate him for this and all his accomplishments.” - Port Gamble S’Klallam Chairman Jeromy Sullivan

“I want to thank the National Congress of American Indians for selecting our Congressman Derek Kilmer for its 2020 Congressional Leadership Award. Congressman Kilmer has been an outstanding member of Congress since the day he stepped into the very big shoes of Congressman Norm Dicks. He has represented this District with integrity. He has served the Tribes in his District, including the Skokomish, with dedication and a strong commitment to our sovereignty. It is an honor to call him our Congressman and friend. I congratulate him on this well-deserved award.” - Chairman Charles “Guy” Miller, Skokomish Indian Tribe

“Congressman Kilmer has been a tireless advocate not only for Indian tribes in Washington state, but for Indian country generally. The Chehalis Tribe is especially grateful for his work protecting the integrity of Indian programs in the appropriations process.” - Chairman Harry Pickernell, Sr., Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation

“Congressman Kilmer is a friend but far more important he is a champion of living up to the promises of the treaties. He is a friend of the environment the vitality of the Salish Sea. He is guided by the principle of what is right for today and the 7 generations to come. A well- deserved recognition.” - Chairman Arnold Cooper, Squaxin Island Tribe

“Congressman Kilmer had big shoes to fill and hit the ground running. He has been a friend and a champion for Indian Country ever since he was sworn in. Congratulations to our terrific friend and Congressman.” - Chairman David Bean, Puyallup Tribe of Indians

About the National Congress of American Indians:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. 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.