Kevin K. Washburn Nominated to Serve as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs >>

August 3rd, 2012

Kevin K. Washburn Nominated to Serve as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs

On Thursday, August 2, 2012, President Obama nominated Kevin Washburn to serve as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs within the U.S. Department of the Interior. Mr. Del Laverdure of the Crow Nation has been serving as the Acting Assistant Secretary since April when Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk resigned.

Mr. Washburn is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. He is currently the Dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law. He has written and taught extensively on federal Indian law for the past decade at the law schools of Harvard, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Arizona. Prior to academia, Washburn served as the General Counsel to the National Indian Gaming Commission during the tenure of NIGC Chairman Montie Deer, 2000 – 2002. He also worked as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice from 1994 – 2000, serving both in Washington, D.C. and in Albuquerque, N.M. His education includes a B.A. in economics from the University of Oklahoma and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Kevin has written extensively and testified on the subjects of Indian gaming, criminal law, and tribal sovereignty. He supports legislative proposals to restore and expand tribal court authority over non-Indians and a broader range of crimes. His writing and testimony can be found here. At DOJ, he successfully argued Montana v. EPA (1997), in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the right of tribal governments to set their own clean water quality standards that must be followed by non-Natives and nearby state and local governments.

Washburn’s nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate, and he will likely testify at a nomination hearing before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in September. Thursday, September 13, 2012 is a likely hearing date. If confirmed he would serve in the position through the remainder of President Obama’s current term (January 2013). If the President is reelected, Mr. Washburn could serve through the second term. Mapetsi will continue to monitor the nomination and update you on any progress.

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