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Montana Governor names new state coordinator of Indian affairs

Helena, Montana (AP) 10-07

Jennifer Perez Cole, editor of the Fort Belknap News, has been selected as the new state coordinator of Indian affairs, Gov. Brian Schweitzer said during October.

She replaces Reno Charette, who announced in June that she was leaving to take a job at Montana State University-Billings. Major Robinson, an economic development specialist in Schweitzer’s office, has held the position during the interim.

Cole, 30, was born and raised on the Fort Belknak Reservation in north-central Montana and is a member of the Assiniboine Tribe of the Fort Belknap Indian community and a descendant of the Fort Peck Assiniboine Tribe.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Montana in 2001 and worked as a reporter for the Great Falls Tribune until fall 2003. She currently is editor of the Fort Belknap News, which is operated by the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes.

Among other things, the state’s Indian affairs coordinator serves as a liaison between the state and Montana’s American Indian tribes.

“I have a commitment to Montana’s first people – a commitment to bring Native Americans through the front door of the Capitol,” Schweitzer said in a news release. “Jennifer Perez Cole has the background to make this office effective for
government-to-government relations. A true partnership will enhance our ability to help tribes in Montana grow their economies, educate their children and develop their communities.”

Cole begins work Nov. 1.
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