April 28, 2007

First Indian ambassador to US?

Ambassador Charles Blackwell's diplomacy builds relationshipsHis legal work on the federal recognition process for tribes had already led him to relocate from New Mexico to Washington. He had grown up with Anoatubby in Tishomingo, Okla., and they had kept up with one another over the years. Blackwell got in touch with Anoatubby in 1988 and asked if he could represent the nation's Washington interests not as an employee, but as an appointed official of the tribe--a diplomat.

“Governor Anoatubby is quick. He saw it immediately, the value of it. And he's decisive. ... My first appointment was as delegate: Chickasaw Nation delegate to the United States of America. And then, in commemoration, the governor and the lieutenant governor, and the Chickasaw Legislature came here in the mid-'90s to commemorate a visit. A Chickasaw tribal delegation had come a hundred years before, and it was a commemorative visit to commemorate that hundredth anniversary of that tribal delegation being here. And while they were here, they created the title of Ambassador to the United States of America. Stood on the steps of the Capitol, the United States Capitol, voted on it, and Governor Anoatubby swore me in on the steps of the United States Capitol.”
Comment:  Blackwell called me last year about doing a comic book on methamphetamine. I said I'd be glad to do one. We left it there.

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