On November 17, H.E. Namik Tan, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the United States, hosted a reception at the historical Turkish Embassy Residence to mark American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month and celebrate the successful passage of H.R. 2362 out of the House Natural Resources Committee.
The lively event was organized by the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), with support from the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC), and the DC Native PR Roundtable, and featured traditional Turkish dance performances by the Kardelen Dance Troupe, tribal drumming expert Dennis Zotigh and Keith Colston's Native American Dance Troupe.
Guests included Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and leaders of the Native American and Turkish American communities. Speakers at the reception included H.R. 2362 sponsor Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Ambassador Tan, TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy, and Mellor Willie, Executive Director of the National American Indian Housing Council.
As a symbol of the strengthening ties between the Republic of Turkey and Native American tribes, Ambassador Tan welcomed the Native American guests and stated: “This is your home, and you will always be welcome here."
Earlier in the day, Rep. Young had guided the successful Committee vote on H.R. 2362, paving the way for a final vote on the House floor. During opening remarks, Rep. Cole, the only Member of Congress to also be an enrolled tribal member, thanked the Turkish people and TCA for their support of Native American tribes and for their efforts in strengthening the Turkish-Native American cultural and economic relationship.Representatives from a variety of Native American, Turkish, administration and congressional offices were also present, including the National American Indian Housing Council, the National Congress of American Indians, the National Council of Urban Indian Health, the National Indian Health Board, the National Indian Education Association, the National Indian Gaming Association, the Native American Contractors Association, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the American Indian Society of Washington, DC, the Association of American Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe, the Navajo Nation, the House Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, among others.