“Her unique career working with Utah’s Native Americans, her solid background in education, and her ability to forge partnerships, all exceptionally equip Shirlee Silversmith to serve as my liaison to Utah’s tribes,” said the Governor. “The State of Utah values its relationships with Utah’s sovereign tribes. There are many opportunities for mutual understanding and finding solutions to challenges like education, healthcare and economic stability. Shirlee is committed to helping us work together to find those solutions, and I am delighted to have her join our administration.”
“I am honored and humbled by the appointment,” Silversmith said. “It is with great respect for Governor Herbert and the Tribal Nations of Utah that I accept this opportunity and look forward to working with the notable Tribal Leaders of our state. I would like to pay tribute to past directors of Utah Division of Indian Affairs who laid a sound foundation for this work to continue.”
Governor Herbert included tribal representatives from across the state to assist in the screening and interview process for a new director. One of those representatives was Kenneth Maryboy, chair of the Utah Tribal Leaders Association and a Navajo. Following Silversmith’s appointment, Maryboy said, “We appreciate how Governor Herbert has involved the tribal leaders in the selection process. With this same spirit of cooperation, we expect to develop a stronger relationship between the tribes and the Governor and the State of Utah. I'm confident Ms. Silversmith will be helpful in fostering improved relations.”
Born and raised on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Central Eastern Arizona, Silversmith is an enrolled member of the Navajo (Dine’) Nation. She received a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Brigham Young University and a Master in Education from Arizona State University.
For the past four years, Silversmith has worked as the Learning for Life Director, an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America, at the Utah National Parks Council. Previously, she worked with the Utah State Office of Education as the Indian Education Specialist for nearly 20 years.