Published September 24, 2019
SALT LAKE CITY — Shirlee Silversmith, who has served for eight years as the director for the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, plans to retire from state employment in October.
During her time as director, Silversmith has grown the Governor’s Native American Summit to more than 500 attendees annually. The summit is the preeminent gathering for tribal leaders and members, as well as those working with tribes on professional and cultural issues.
Additionally, Silversmith helped implement programs to help Native American students and refined the burial process for Native American remains.
“During my years with the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, we have worked consistently to improve and strengthen the relationship between tribal nations and the state. We organized the State Tribal Liaison Committee, which represents the state agencies, to address the issues and concerns that tribes have shared with the state. We have increased engagement from tribal nations with state-sponsored events, as well as participation with state liaison requests and reports,” Silversmith said. “We also created partnerships with numerous organizations to educate and share a cultural understanding of indigenous people. It has been an honor to have worked with the tribal leadership of our state and I have learned so much from each of you. Thank you to all the partners that worked with Indian Affairs.”
Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert appointed Silversmith to serve in 2011 as the state’s representative to the eight federally-recognized tribes in Utah, as well as all American Indians and Alaskan Natives who call the state home.
“I’m grateful for Shirlee’s eight years of service to the state, especially her efforts to raise graduation rates for Native American students, which are improving,” Herbert said. “I also appreciate that she has grown attendance at the Native American Summit and added a youth track to develop the Native American leaders of tomorrow.”