Clara Pratte currently serves as the Executive Director of the Navajo Nation's Washington, D.C. office. In this capacity, she leads the advocacy efforts for the Navajo Nation on all federal policy.
Prior to rejoining the Navajo Nation government, Pratte served as the National Director of the Office of Native American Affairs of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Pratte administered this office to ensure that American Indians, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians seeking to create, develop and expand small businesses had full access to the necessary business development and expansion tools available through the agency’s entrepreneurial development, lending and procurement programs. Under her direction, the office took a leading role in Indian country helping small business owners and entrepreneurs secure financing, technical assistance, training and federal contracts. Prior to joining the SBA, Pratte worked for the Navajo Nation as a policy analyst and legislative liaison, focusing on economic and community development, housing, and education issues.
She began her federal career with the Department of Commerce at the International Trade Administration as a Trade Specialist in the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service. She counseled small- to medium-sized U.S. companies on exporting. After serving with the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service, she joined the Office of the Chief Information Officer where she oversaw IT projects for the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service and the Import Administration.
Pratte is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation from Lupton, Arizona. Growing up in the small rural community, she became interested at a young age in the economic disparities between her reservation community and the surrounding border towns. During her college career, she advocated for increased public safety and transportation dollars for her home community when a bridge providing the only access to half of the community’s residents was destroyed and washed out creating a safety and health hazard. In fact, one of her family members suffered a heart attack during the time the bridge was closed and critical time was added to first responder access due to the closure. Through advocacy with local community members petitioning both the state of Arizona and the tribal government, the bridge was fully replaced. Additionally, Pratte advocated for the installation at her home chapter for refuse disposal. With no trash facilities nearby, residents were left with the options of illegal dumping and unsafe incineration to deal with refuse. Her commitment to community service continued with volunteering throughout college and graduate school with animal shelters and food banks in the communities where she attended school.
Pratte has a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Arizona and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College, where she was a Tribal Affairs Fellow. She is a former Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Intern and a Presidential Management Fellow, and is a past recipient of the Heinz Tribal Affairs Fellowship. [Source: Udall Foundation]