NCAI President Jefferson Keel
Download this photo for use
Jefferson Keel, NCAI President
Jefferson E. Keel serves as the President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native tribal government organization in the country. In November 2011 at NCAI’s 68th Annual Convention he was unanimously re-elected to serve a second term as President of the organization. He is currently elected to his fourth term as the Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, and previously served two terms as NCAI’s First Vice-President.
President Keel is firmly committed to the service of Indian Country and actively supports the self-reliance of his people. The welfare of American Indian people is his first priority. He is keenly aware of the roles and responsibilities expected of tribal leaders and earnestly believes in the policy of “helping our people through honorable public service.”
He also represents Indian Country on numerous national boards and committees and often assists tribes and other groups in cultural and historic preservation activities. President Keel is one of nine commissioners to serve on Tribal Law and Order Commission established under the Tribal Law and Order Act in 2010. He is a member of the Board Advisors of the Center for Native American Youth, former Senator Byron Dorgan’s new organization created at the Aspen Institute.
In addition to his work as Director of Social Services and Special Assistant for Cultural Affairs for the Chickasaw Nation, he has served as Chair of the Indian Health Service Policy Advisory Committee, the Centers for Disease Control Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee, and the Department of Justice Tribal Advisory Group. President Keel also works on the Self-Governance Advisory Committee, the National Indian Child Welfare Association Board of Directors, and the Health Research Advisory Council for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.
President Keel is a retired U.S. Army officer with over 20 years active duty service. He served three years of service in Vietnam, and received numerous awards and decorations for heroism, including two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star with "V" for valor, and the Army Commendation Medal with valor. He is a former Airborne Ranger, infantry platoon sergeant and platoon leader, and served as an instructor in the elite U.S. Army Rangers.