Today, as part of the White House Tribal Nations Summit, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced the appointment of 15 members to the first ever Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council, to advise on homeland security policies and practices that affect Indian Country, including emergency management, law enforcement, cybersecurity, domestic terrorism and targeted violence, and border security. The members announced today represent more than 564,000 registered tribal members, 178 villages and village corporations, and collectively embody an extensive knowledge base of homeland security subject matter expertise.
“I am deeply proud to appoint the inaugural members of the Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council, and I applaud their commitment to help build and strengthen the integral partnership between indigenous communities and our Department of Homeland Security,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Importantly, their counsel will better enable our Department to uphold its responsibilities to Tribal Nations, as we work hand-in-hand to address key areas of the homeland security mission relating to Indian Country.”
Secretary Mayorkas has appointed the following individuals to the Council:
- Peter Yucupicio, Chairman, Pascua Yaqui Tribe (Chair)
- Kimberly Hampton, Board of Directors, Unit 4, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Vice Chair)
- Antonio Cesar Gonzalez Jr., Director of Security, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino
- DeCota Thompson, Lieutenant, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department
- Dustin Newport, Executive Officer of Protective Services, Chickasaw Nation Department of Commerce
- Emmalene Sitting Bear, Director, NHA National Emergency Operations Center, Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation
- Floyd Velasquez, Administrator, Morongo Band of Mission Indians Emergency Services
- Harold Pierite Sr., Chief of Police, Tunica-Biloxi Police Department
- Jeff Hansen, Director, Community Protection, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
- Julie Kitka, President, Alaska Federation of Natives
- Lee Edberg, Cybersecurity Manager, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
- Lynda Zambrano, Founder and Executive Director, National Tribal Emergency Management Council and the Northwest Tribal Emergency Management Council
- Ned Norris, Jr., Chairman, Tohono O’odham Nation
- Renita DiStefano, Former Chief Information Officer, Seneca Gaming Corporation, Seneca Nation of Indians
- Vivian Korthuis, CEO, Association of Village Council Presidents, Native Village of Emmonak
The Council’s membership reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities of diversity, equity, and inclusion; membership from various tribal and indigenous communities ensures varied experiences, beliefs, and skillsets are represented.
The establishment of this Council —first announced by Secretary Mayorkas in September— and appointment of its inaugural members are part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) goal to uphold treaty and trust responsibilities to Indian Country.
The Council will engage with DHS agencies and offices to present recommendations and reports for the Secretary. The Council will be charged with collaborating on all matters of homeland security as they relate to Tribal Nations and indigenous communities, including but not limited to:
- Implementation of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments and President Biden’s January 26, 2021 Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships;
- Implementation of Executive Order 14053, Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People;
- Implementation of Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government;
- Implementation of Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations and Executive Order 13990, Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis;
- Implementation and execution of the DHS’s Tribal Consultation Policy; and
- The responsibility to uphold the federal government’s and the Department’s trust and treaty responsibility to Tribal Nations.
The first meeting of this Council will be convened by Secretary Mayorkas early next year.
To learn more about the Council, please visit: https://www.dhs.gov/tribal-advisory-council.