Podcast: Kevin Gover on the shared Indian and Jewish experience
There certainly are places and times where what happened to Indians very closely resembles Jews in Europe during World War II. Everything from systematic killing—the hunting of them and their murder—to the use of propaganda to fire up the public to engage in that conduct. And so the Holocaust is something that we study and that we need to understand in order to really understand the Native American experience as well.

Kevin Gover began his career as a civil rights attorney, worked as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior, taught law at Arizona State University, and is now director of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. His Pawnee tribal name means "Shield Chief," and in many ways throughout his life Gover has protected Native rights and culture.

As a young man in the South, Gover witnessed prejudice of all kinds, including antisemitism. Today, in his office across the National Mall from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Gover reflects on some of the shared goals and challenges for Jews and Native Americans.

Welcome to Voices on Antisemitism, a podcast series from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum made possible by generous support from the Oliver and Elizabeth Stanton Foundation. I'm Aleisa Fishman. Every month, we invite a guest to reflect about the many ways that antisemitism and hatred influence our world today. From the National Museum of the American Indian, here's Kevin Gover.

I grew up in Lawton, Oklahoma. Lawton is in the center of what used to be the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation. I am part Comanche, but my tribal membership is with the Pawnee Nation.

By training I'm a lawyer and practiced law for a number of years in Washington DC and New Mexico, entirely representing Indian tribes in the United States. And one of the things that struck me, in my law career, was how many of the lawyers from the '30s, '40s, and '50s who were representing Indian tribes, when it wasn't a popular thing to do, were Jewish. And, in fact, everyone would agree that the greatest lawyer in our field in history was Felix Cohen. He wrote the Handbook of Federal Indian Law. "

Get the Story:
Kevin Gover: Director, National Museum of the American Indian (Voices of Antisemitism 8/5)