Tex Hall on Harper Confirmation: ‘Unprecedented Opportunity for Indian Country’


Keith Harper, the Cherokee Nation citizen, who is most notable for his work on the Cobell settlement was confirmed as the United States human rights ambassador to the United Nations on June 3 by a Senate vote of 52 – 42.

RELATED: Keith Harper, Cherokee Nation Citizen, Confirmed as Ambassador

Upon hearing the news Tex “Red Tipped Arrow” Hall, chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation of North Dakota, along with chairman of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, and past president of the National Congress of American Indians, released a statement praising the appointment of Harper.

“For countless generations our warriors and leaders have fought for the human rights and traditions of our own people. That is just as true today, even though our struggle takes place on a worldwide stage, and even though we have been relegated to the sidelines of the U.N. For as long as I can remember, we have never been able to count on the United States to actively promote or defend our rights on an international level,” Hall said. “That all began to change when President Obama reversed the United States’ opposition to UNDRIP. And now, for the first time in history, the President's nomination and Senate confirmation, of Keith Harper as Ambassador means that we will have someone representing the United States who can fight for our tribal treaty rights and our human rights at the international level. This is an unprecedented opportunity for Indian country and the United States to work together on a global scale to advance our human rights through UNDRIP and other international human rights instruments.”

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Mary Aurelia Johns's picture
Mary Aurelia Johns
Submitted by Mary Aurelia Johns on
I totally disagree with Tex Hall’s position regarding Keith Harper’s “…we will have someone representing the United States who can fight for our tribal treaty rights and our human rights at the international level,…” Keith Harper will not be free to go against any policy that is supported by the U.S. He will have to sing the company song and this has happened on numerous occasions in the history of the United Nations. He is now an instrument of the United States Federal Government and those forces who will oppose any type of action that will hurt their pocket book. There are serious Human Rights issues and Treaty Rights violations going on in Canada right now with the tar sands, the building of the Key Stone Pipeline, the missing First Nations Women, and in U.S. the proposed mining of Uranium in the Black Hills, the oil fracking and pollution that is being done on Chairman Hall’s own reservation which is now beginning to pollute our sacred water. Furthermore, what will Ambassador Harper do if the Obama Administration approves the building of the Key Stone Pipe line? According to Chairman Hall’s statement will Ambassador Harper be free to oppose it as a Human Rights and treaty violation of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nation? I’m afraid he will not only be toothless but his mouth will have to remain shut while we fight the battle ourselves. There is an old saying that may apply here, which is: “When the Gods want to drive you crazy they answer your prayers.” I for one come from a Nation that has had many battles with the United States military establishment who were led by the Scouts of other Indian Nations such as the Arikara. So I will wait and see just how effective Ambassador Harper will be in his new post. He will have two years to prove himself worthy of all of these many praises he has received… I hope he has been humbled by the accolades laid at his feet by the many leaders who took up his banner. The Oceti Sakowin did not.