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Native American employees form group.

The Department's Native American employees are forming a group, the Native American Foreign Affairs Council (NAFAC), to advance the contributions of Native Americans to the mission of foreign affairs agencies and serve as a place to share ideas and experiences.

NAFAC, in collaboration with the Office of Civil Rights and USAID's Office of Civil Rights OCR and Diversity, hosted the 2014 Native American Heritage Month in November at a Washington, D.C. auditorium with Native American dancers. The National Museum of the American Indian's cafe provided such dishes as bison steak, buffalo chili, frybread and succotash.

The event's speaker, Ambassador Keith M. Harper, a member of the Cherokee Nation and the first Native American to become a U.S. ambassador, highlighted topics from indigenous law to his work as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"A lot of what we do in diplomacy starts with understanding the other side," he said. "When you have a common understanding of the world around you or the relationship with other people, and when you come from a tribal background, then you can be more effective in addressing the concerns of others."

Another speaker, Juan Carlos Hunt, director at USAID's OCR/ Diversity unit, emphasized the benefits of a diverse workforce, saying "evidence shows that we are more effective and solve more problems when we are a diverse and inclusive group."

More information on NAFAC is available from Jack Jackson, Jr. at

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Title Annotation:In the News
Publication:State Magazine
Date:Feb 1, 2015
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