Gavin Clarkson addresses Republican president-elect Donald Trump's Native American Coalition in Washington, D.C, on December 14, 2016. Photo: Sharon Clahchischilliage

Choctaw Nation citizen lands senior job at Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Trump administration is finally filling out its leadership team at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Gavin Clarkson, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, will be serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development at the BIA. He is the first senior political hire at the agency since Secretary Ryan Zinke, the new leader of the Department of the Interior, came on board in March.

The job is not the top political one at the agency. That would be the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, a position that has yet to be filled by President Donald Trump.

But the deputy is an important one. In his new role, Clarkson will be overseeing the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, the Office of Indian Gaming and the Office of Self-Governance. Energy and economic development are among Zinke's highest priorities.

"Sovereignty should mean something," the Cabinet official is fond of saying.

Clarkson has extensive experience in economic development and finance issues in Indian Country. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School.

Clarkson's first day on the job is Monday.

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