TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - Northeastern State University’s College of Liberal Arts has announced Kim Teehee as its sixth Sequoyah Fellow.
Teehee is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and is the executive director of government relations for Cherokee Nation and vice president of government relations for Cherokee Nation Businesses. She was also recently nominated by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. to be the tribe’s first-ever delegate to U.S. Congress.
“I am deeply honored about returning to the NSU campus in this capacity. It remains an important place for me personally, a university where I was inspired and challenged. And for the Cherokee Nation, NSU will forever be an iconic partner because of the shared history of the school and the tribe,” Teehee said. “I look forward to interacting with the current students and hope what I am able to impart is beneficial, especially to all the Native American students.”
Prior to joining Cherokee Nation, she served as partner for the Mapetsi Policy Group, a Washington, D.C. based federal advocacy group representing Indian tribes and tribal organizations. She served former President Barack Obama as the first-ever senior policy advisor for Native American Affairs in the White House Domestic Policy Council for four years.
Teehee’s work helped lead to a presidential memorandum on tribal consultation and an executive order on improving American Indian and Alaska Native educational opportunities and strengthening tribal colleges and universities. She guided the administration’s support for the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and addressed the U.N. Permanent Forum on issues affecting the world’s indigenous peoples.
Teehee is especially proud of her work toward the administration’s support of proposed legislation to hold all perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their crimes against Native American women, closing a jurisdictional gap in Indian country. She also played a key role in three White House Tribal Nations Conferences and led a government-wide team to ensure that progress was being made on tribal policy and legislative priorities.
“Kim Teehee’s work with the Cherokee Nation and all across the United States on behalf of Native populations is remarkable,” Chief Hoskin said. “Kim is absolutely the right choice to be the sixth Sequoyah Fellow at NSU. The NSU community will surely benefit as Kim spends the next year sharing her experiences.”
Prior to serving in the White House, Teehee was senior advisor to the U.S. House of Representatives Native American Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Dale Kildee. Serving the bi-partisan caucus for nearly 12 years, she established an impressive record of accomplishments on a wide array of Native American issues, including appropriations, education, economic development, energy, health care, housing, agriculture and transportation.
Teehee grew up in Claremore, Oklahoma, and held various positions at Cherokee Nation prior to working in Washington, D.C. She received her Bachelor of Arts in political science from NSU and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Iowa, College of Law.
“Kim’s experiences addressing concerns vital to the Native American community at the local, regional and national levels provide a unique learning opportunity for our students,” NSU President Steve Turner said. “Our indigenous populations continue to benefit from her consistent commitment to strengthen our education systems.”
The Sequoyah Fellow program provides an opportunity for the university and College of Liberal Arts to recognize an outstanding scholar in the field of Native American Studies who will share their expertise with the NSU community during the fellowship year. Sequoyah Fellows are nationally and internationally renowned, have interest in scholarship and service to Native communities, and have records of distinction at the highest levels of professional accomplishment in their fields.
"Kim is an incredibly accomplished professional who has tirelessly worked on improving the lives of Native people,” Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Dr. Mike Chanslor said. “We are excited that our students and broader university community will have the opportunity in the coming year to learn from such a champion of Native causes.
Wilma Mankiller, former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, served as the inaugural Sequoyah Fellow. Other past Sequoyah Institute Fellows include America Meredith (2018), Jeff Corntassel (2017), Stacy Leeds (2016) and Neil Morton (2015).