Former Obama White House Staffer Raina Thiele (Yup’ik/Dena’ina) Wins First Alaskans Institute Award

Raina ThielePublished November 19, 2016

ANCHORAGE – First Alaskans Institute (FAI), a statewide Alaska Native non-profit organization, will present Raina Thiele the First Alaskans Institute Young Native Leader Award on Saturday, November 19, 2016.

Named in recognition of Howard Rock (Iñupiaq) and Senator Ted Stevens, the Gala celebrates the significant contributions of Alaska Native peoples and our friends in advancing our collective well-being.

Thiele is an energetic and dedicated advocate for Alaska Native peoples, who was able to advance Native issues during her tenure in Washington, D.C. This award recognized her commitment, hard work, and continuing persistence to help serve our Native community.

She worked in President Obama’s White House as Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, where she focused on working with tribal governments and advising on climate change, arctic, and energy issues.  She was a lead organizer of President Obama’s trip to Alaska in the fall of 2015, ensuring he not only had access to some of our strongest Native advocates, but that he also spent time in our rural communities.

Prior to her role in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Raina served for nearly 5 years in the White House Office of Management and Budget, where she worked on a wide variety of issues, including tribal legislation, international affairs, and energy. She managed a multi-billion dollar federal portfolio and advised senior White House staff on how best to leverage and allocate resources.

Raina earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Yale College and her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Raina is also an alumna of the First Alaskans Institute Summer Internship Program.

Raina was born and raised in Alaska in the Mat-Su Valley, Kenai Peninsula, Bristol Bay, and Alexander Creek. Her upbringing involved commercial, subsistence and sports fishing with her parents, subsistence hunting, and berry picking. She is Dena’ina Athabascan, Yup’ik, and German.


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