MARKSVILLE, LA – Harold Pierite, Sr., Chief of the Tunica-Biloxi Police Department, was appointed by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas to the Department’s first-ever Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council. Harold Pierite, Sr. joins 14 other new members on the council, an external advisory body providing advice to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to serve my community on a national stage,” said Pierite. “Service to others, including each and every tribal citizen, has always been part of my purpose. Through this appointment, I have a duty to every member of Indian Country as I continue my mission of service. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Council and my fellow officers have been a wonderful support system and I owe them great thanks for this opportunity.”
Chief Pierite has been a member of the Tunica-Biloxi Police Department for more than 30 years and has served as a member of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Council for more than 20 years. Prior to his current role as the Tunica-Biloxi Chief of Police, Pierite served as a police officer for both the Tunica-Biloxi Police Department as well as the Avoyelles Parish Police Department. He was also recently inducted into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame.
“I am deeply proud to appoint the inaugural members of the Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council, and I applaud their commitment to help build and strengthen the integral partnership between indigenous communities and our Department of Homeland Security,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Importantly, their counsel will better enable our department to uphold its responsibilities to tribal nations, as we work hand-in-hand to address key areas of the homeland security mission relating to Indian Country.”
Council members will advise the secretary on homeland security policies and practices that affect Indian Country, including emergency management, law enforcement, cybersecurity, domestic terrorism and targeted violence, and border security. The members announced today represent more than 564,000 registered tribal members, 178 villages and village corporations, and collectively embody an extensive knowledge base of homeland security subject matter expertise.
The establishment of the council – first announced by Secretary Mayorkas in September – and appointment of its inaugural members are part of the Department of Homeland Security’s goal to uphold treaty and trust responsibilities to Indian Country.
Secretary Mayorkas has appointed the following individuals to the council:
- Peter Yucupicio, Chairman, Pascua Yaqui Tribe (Chair)
- Kimberly Hampton, Board of Directors, Unit 4, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Vice Chair)
- Antonio Cesar Gonzalez Jr., Director of Security, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino
- DeCota Thompson, Lieutenant, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department
- Dustin Newport, Executive Officer of Protective Services, Chickasaw Nation Department of Commerce
- Emmalene Sitting Bear, Director, MHA Nation Emergency Operations Center, Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation
- Floyd Velasquez, Administrator, Morongo Band of Mission Indians Emergency Services
- Harold Pierite Sr., Chief of Police, Tunica-Biloxi Police Department
- Jeff Hansen, Director, Community Protection, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
- Julie Kitka, President, Alaska Federation of Natives
- Lee Edberg, Cybersecurity Manager, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
- Lynda Zambrano, Founder and Executive Director, National Tribal Emergency Management Council and the Northwest Tribal Emergency Management Council
- Ned Norris, Jr., Chairman, Tohono O’odham Nation
- Renita DiStefano, Former Chief Information Officer, Seneca Gaming Corporation, Seneca Nation of Indians
- Vivian Korthuis, CEO, Association of Village Council Presidents, Native Village of Emmonak