National | Politics

Kevin Washburn, Chickasaw, nominated as Assistant Secretary

Kevin Washburn Kevin Washburn, a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, has been nominated as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, the White House announced today.

Washburn currently serves as dean of the law school at the University of New Mexico. He was the first American Indian to lead the law school.

Prior to joining UNM, he was a professor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and also at the University of Minnesota Law School. He also was the Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School.

Earlier in his career, Washburn served as general counsel the National Indian Gaming Commission from 2000 to 2002. He also worked for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Mexico from 1997 to 2000.

If confirmed by the Senate, Washburn would succeed Larry Echo Hawk, who ran the Bureau of Indian Affairs for three years. Echo Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, left the post in April.

Washburn would be the second Chickasaw citizen to lead the BIA if confirmed. Neal McCaleb served from 2001 to 2003.

Of the last five assistant secretaries, four are members of Oklahoma tribes and one has a direct tie to an Oklahoma tribe.

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