Native American Congressional Internship

Meet our Interns - Alumni Spotlights - Karla General

Shekon sewakwekon! I am a citizen of the Mohawk Nation, raised on the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation, and my Mohawk name is Kawenniiostha (she brings good words).

Before entering my senior year of college at Saint Lawrence University in Canton, New York, in 2006, I was selected as a Udall Congressional Intern, where I worked in the office of former First Lady and Senator of New York State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Udall Internship provided me with invaluable experience on Capitol Hill; professional and career development; and numerous other possibilities, opportunities, and connections, including, most importantly, lasting relationships with lifelong friends. Many of my fellow Udall Interns continue to inspire me deeply by doing good work in Indian Country.

Following the Udall Internship, I decided to complete my graduate studies at Syracuse University. Since graduating in 2010 with a Juris Doctor and Master of Arts in sociology, I have been working as an attorney at the Indian Law Resource Center in Washington, D.C., where I work to improve the rights of Indigenous peoples in the Americas and worldwide. I have been lucky enough to find a career where I am doing what I had envisioned during graduate school: combining legal work and policy advocacy on local, regional, and international levels in the fields of Indigenous and human rights law. Some of my work involves the United Nations, where I traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, in 2013 to speak to the Human Rights Council, the highest body responsible for setting the world community's human rights agenda. I addressed the need for countries and the U.N. to adopt measures that would enable the full realization of rights provided in the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

My ultimate goal is for Indigenous peoples and their governments to have their rights recognized and respected, and to become happy, healthy, and thriving nations. Much of my work focuses on providing the legal framework and tools necessary to make this goal a reality. I think the Udall Internship enabled me to evaluate my goals professionally and personally, and opened previously closed doors that later allowed me to do some of the work I am doing today. I fully encourage all interested candidates to apply and make the most of the Udall experience.