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Kimberly Teehee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kimberly Teehee
Teehee standing at a lectern with flags in the background
Teehee in 2019
Delegate to the
U.S. House of Representatives
from the Cherokee Nation
Assuming office
SucceedingConstituency established
Personal details
Born (1968-10-13) October 13, 1968 (age 54)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationRogers State University (AA)
Northeastern State University (BA)
University of Iowa (JD)

Kimberly Teehee (born October 13, 1968) is a Native American (Cherokee Nation) attorney, politician, and activist on Native American issues. She is a Delegate-designate to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Cherokee Nation. She served as senior policy advisor for Native American affairs in the administration of President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2012.[1] In February of 2020, she was named by Time as one of 16 activists fighting for a "More Equal America."[2]

Early life and education

A member of the Cherokee Nation, she was born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Claremore, Oklahoma, where she and her family were fluent Cherokee language speakers.[3][4]

Teehee is a graduate of Rogers State University, where she received an associate's degree,[5] and of Northeastern State University, where she was graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1991. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1995.[6] She was awarded a Bureau of National Affairs Award.[4]


Teehee served as the first deputy director of Native American Outreach for the Democratic National Committee and director of Native American outreach for President Bill Clinton's 1997 inauguration.[6][4] Starting in 1998, she then served as Senior Advisor to Democratic Congressman Dale Kildee of Michigan, who was a co-chair of the Native American Caucus in the House of Representatives.[3]

Tribal Energy Summit
Tribal Energy Summit

In the Obama administration she served on the White House Domestic Policy Council.[7] Beginning July 2009, she assumed the new position of Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs and advised the president about issues pertaining to Indian country.[4]

In 2012, she accepted "a position with the Mapetsi Policy Group, a small legal and lobbying firm founded by tribal advocate, Debbie Ho, with the aim of preserving tribal sovereignty."[8]

During her tenure at the White House, she played a major role in securing re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In 2015, after leaving the White House, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians honored her for her work on VAWA, especially as it related to prosecuting non-natives who abuse native women on tribal lands.[9]

Teehee in the Oval Office with President Barack Obama in 2012
Teehee in the Oval Office with President Barack Obama in 2012

In 2014, Teehee joined Cherokee Nation Businesses, where she served as vice president of special projects for the tribe's holding company.[10]

Delegate-nominee to Congress

In August 2019, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. appointed Teehee as the Cherokee Nation's first-ever delegate to the United States House of Representatives.[11] Her appointment was approved by the Cherokee Council on August 29.[12] The Nation's right to send a delegate to Congress was provided for in the Treaty of Hopewell of 1785 and the Treaty of New Echota of 1835;[13] however, the right was not exercised until 2019. The U.S. House of Representatives will have to vote to seat Teehee as a delegate similar to those representing the U.S. territories.[14] If accepted, her role will be non-voting, similar to those of representatives from Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.[15]

As of January 2021, the Cherokee Nation were still attempting to have Teehee be seated.[16][17] In February 2021, it was reported that Teehee was among those who advised President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their campaign promises concerning Native Americans prior to the 2020 United States presidential election and that her seating as a delegate in Congress had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, though she expected to be seated sometime in 2021.[18][19] Teehee remained unseated as of September 2022,[20] when the Cherokee Nation government reiterated their insistence that Congress seat her.[21][22][23] A formal hearing by the United States House Committee on Rules to discuss the legality and procedure for seating Teehee was scheduled for November 16, 2022.[24][25] Hoskin spoke at the event and afterward, several members of the House supported a decision to seat Teehee as soon as possible, including by the end of the year.[26]

While Teehee represents the Cherokee Nation, in 2021, Oklahoma's United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians selected Victoria Holland as a delegate, arguing that they represent the same people as the Cherokee of the Treaty of New Echota.[26]


  1. ^ "President Obama Announces Kimberly Teehee as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs | The White House". 15 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-29 – via National Archives.
  2. ^ "These 16 People and Groups Are Fighting for a More Equal America". Time. Retrieved 2022-03-26.
  3. ^ a b Alexander, Kerri Lee. "Kimberly Teehee". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Toensing, Gale Courey (June 18, 2009). "'Elated and excited': Teehee named Obama's senior advisor on Indian affairs". Indian Country Today. Archived from the original on June 28, 2009. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  5. ^ "News | NSU Alumna Named Obama Senior Policy Advisor | Northeastern State University". 2010-12-19. Archived from the original on 2010-12-19. Retrieved 2022-03-26.
  6. ^ a b "Obama Names Cherokee as Native Policy Adviser". Reznet News. Archived from the original on 2009-06-18. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
  7. ^ "Welcome to Northeastern State University, Tahlequah Campus". Archived from the original on 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
  8. ^ "President Obama Announces Jodi Gillette Appointment, Replacing Kimberly Teehee". Indian Country Today Media Network. 2012-04-28. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  9. ^ "Cherokee Nation Citizen Honored for Role in VAWA Reauthorization"; webpage; September 2, 2015; Cherokee Nation online; accessed January 27, 2018.
  10. ^ "Cherokee Nation Hires Former White House Advisor Kim Teehee"; September 25, 2014; webpage;; accessed January 27, 2018.
  11. ^ "Cherokee Nation Seeks Congressional Delegate". Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  12. ^ "Cherokee Council Approves Congressional Nominee and Others". KWGS Public Radio Tulsa. Tulsa, Oklahoma. August 30, 2019. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  13. ^ Budryk, Zack (August 25, 2019). "Cherokee Nation moves to appoint congressional delegate". Roll Call. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  14. ^ Krehbiel-Burton, Lenzy (August 23, 2019). "Citing treaties, Cherokees call on Congress to seat delegate from tribe". Tulsa World. Tulsa, Oklahoma. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  15. ^ Katz, Brigit (4 September 2019). "Kimberly Teehee Will Be the Cherokee Nation's First Delegate to Congress". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  16. ^ "A Treaty Right For Cherokee Representation : Code Switch". Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  17. ^ Trahant, Mark. "A 200-year-old promise". Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  18. ^ Rowley, D. Sean (February 12, 2021). "Biden's 'Plan for Tribal Nations' offers policy insight". Cherokee Phoenix. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  19. ^ Polansky, Chris (February 12, 2021). "Cherokee Nation Hopeful Delegate To Congress Could Be Seated This Year". Public Radio Tulsa. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  20. ^ Hoskin Jr., Chuck (4 September 2022). "Cherokee chief: Our ancestors were promised a delegate in the House. Treaties matter". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  21. ^ Hernandez, Joe (2022-09-24). "The Cherokee Nation is renewing its push for a nonvoting delegate in Congress". NPR. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  22. ^ "Cherokee Nation seeks help urging Congress to seat a delegate in U.S. House". Tulsa World. September 23, 2022.
  23. ^ Blakemore, Erin (October 5, 2022). "In 1835, the Cherokee were promised a seat in Congress. They're still waiting". National Geographic.
  24. ^ "Hearing Announcement: Legal and Procedural Factors Related to Seating a Cherokee Nation Delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives". United States House Committee on Rules. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  25. ^ "House to consider seating Cherokee Nation delegate". WDBJ. November 4, 2022.
  26. ^ a b "Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma could get first delegate to Congress in 200 years". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. 2022-11-16. Retrieved 2022-11-16.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
New constituency Delegate-designate of the U.S. House of Representatives
from the Cherokee Nation

This page was last edited on 3 December 2022, at 22:42
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