Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced today the appointment of Chris Howell as the Native American Liaison for his administration. Kansas is home to four Native American Indian tribes: the Kickapoo Indian Tribe, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, the Sac & Fox Indian Tribe and the Iowa Indian Tribe.
"Native American Kansans play a very important role in our state's history, culture and economy. It is essential for them to have a direct line into the Governor's office," Governor Brownback said. "As a Native American himself, Chris understands the tribal governments and compacts they have with the state. Couple that with his experience as a state government executive and the strong relationships he has members of the tribes, Chris will serve all Kansans well."
A member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and a native of Lawrence, Howell earned his bachelor's degree from Emporia State University. He has worked in Kansas State Government for 19 years, including as the Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer for the Kansas Arts Commission. He also is a Kansas Court approved mediator.
Howell served as the Vice Chair of the Kansas Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission (2000-2006) and as President of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation (2008-2009). He represented the Pawnee Nation on the Circle of Tribal Advisors of the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial and was a board member of the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial (2003-2007). He also served on the Executive Leadership Committee as the liaison for the middle Missouri tribal representatives of the Circle of Tribal Advisors.
Presently, Howell is listed with the Kansas Humanities Council's Kansas 150 Speakers Bureau, which was created in recognition of the 150th Anniversary of Kansas Statehood.
Among his responsibilities, Brownback said Howell will work to ensure that Native American concerns and needs are addressed in state policy making decisions as well as coordinate intergovernmental communications between tribal governments and the Governor's Office, as well as other state agencies and other Native American organizations.