Kevin Gover

Kevin Gover

Americans have been taught a shallow and simple narrative of the history of Native Americans and the history of our country. Shallow narratives are satisfying and allow us to feel good about our history as a nation, but they can cause our approach to contemporary issues to be uninformed and even misinformed. Kevin will discuss fearlessly embracing the larger, messier, more complex truths of our history.

About Kevin: Kevin Gover is the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and a citizen of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. Gover began as director in December 2007. He received his bachelor’s degree in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and his Juris Doctor degree in 1981 from the University of New Mexico College of Law.

Gover returned to New Mexico in 1986, where he established Gover, Stetson, Williams & West, P.C., which grew into the largest Indian-owned law firm in the country and represented tribes and tribal agencies in a dozen states. His advocacy brought him to the attention of the Clinton White House, and in 1997, Gover was nominated by President Clinton to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the United States Department of the Interior. His tenure as Assistant Secretary is perhaps best-known for his apology to Native American people for the historical conduct of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Upon leaving office, Gover resumed the practice of law and served on the faculty of Arizona State University’s Indian Legal Program. Throughout his professional career, Gover has given freely of his time, serving on several committees of the Federal Bar Association and the American Bar Association, as well as on a number of non-profit boards.

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