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    City of Seattle hires new tribal liaison

    City of Seattle hires new tribal liaison
    Nicole Willis to help maintain and strengthen City relationships with tribes near Seattle

    The City of Seattle announced today the hiring of Nicole Willis as the new tribal relations liaison for the Office of Intergovernmental Relations. She has served most recently as special assistant to the secretary for Indian Affairs at the US Department of Labor with Secretary Hilda L. Solis.

    "We are very excited to have Nicole join our team," said Mayor Mike McGinn. "We have deep and long-standing relationships with the tribes near Seattle. Nicole will help us to maintain and strengthen those bonds."

    "I welcome this most critical position to help Seattle build stronger relationships, understanding and communication with our local Native American community," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. "We will continue to have an honest and open discussion about how we collaborate with our Native American residents to address many institutional and historical disparities that continue to exist."

    Willis will help the City work with local tribes on issues relating to natural resources, land use, sacred sites, and other functions of government-to-government relationships. She will also facilitate collaboration with the urban Indian community's representative organizations and the City to help improve the position of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Seattle.

    Nicole Willis is a longtime advocate for Native peoples, focusing her career on helping tribes and related organizations to work with other governments towards sustainable solutions to the many problems facing our communities today.

    In addition to her work with the current administration and position as deputy director for First Americans at Obama for America, Willis has also worked as a consultant and policy analyst for her tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon. Nicole previously spent time in Washington D.C. working for then-Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and a law firm specializing in Federal Indian law.

    Willis joined the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs on July 18. Her salary is $80,000, which is covered by the existing City budget.

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