Jefferson Keel, Lieutenant Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, is a retired U.S. Army officer with over 20 years active duty service. His combat experience included three years service in Viet Nam as an Infantryman, where he received the Bronze Star with “V” for valor, two purple hearts and numerous other awards and decorations for heroism. Lt. Governor Keel has always proven himself as an effective leader. He is a former Airborne Ranger, and served as an instructor in the elite US Army Rangers. As an Infantry platoon sergeant and platoon leader, he gained valuable and extensive leadership and management experience.
Lt. Governor Keel has a Bachelors degree from East Central University and a Master of Science degree from Troy University. He also completed post graduate studies at East Central and East Texas Universities. He has management experience in the private sector and tribal programs and operations. He is extremely proud of his Native American heritage and often assists other tribes and groups in cultural and historic preservation activities. Lt. Governor Keel is firmly committed to the service of Indian people and actively supports their desire to become self-reliant. The welfare of the Chickasaw people is his first priority. He is keenly aware of the roles and responsibilities expected of tribal leaders and earnestly believes in the policy of “helping our people through honorable public service.”
A highly respected tribal leader, Lt. Governor Keel is serving his second term as the President of the National Congress of American Indians, the nation’s oldest and largest tribal organization. He was appointed by Senator Harry Reid to serve as a Commissioner on the Tribal Law and Order Commission. He serves as Chair for the Tribal Interior Budget Committee, serves on the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee, the Indian Health Service (IHS) Advisory committee, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee.
Lt. Governor Keel also serves on the Board of Regents for Bacone College, East Central University the Foundation Board of Directors, the Self-Governance Advisory Committee, and the National Indian Child Welfare Association Board of Directors. He is a Master Mason, a graduate of Leadership Ada and active in his church and the community. Lt. Governor Keel and his wife, Carol, have three children and eight grandchildren.
If you would like to contact the Office of the Lt. Governor, please call (580) 436-7232.