September 20, 2012
Hearing on Kevin Washburn to lead BIA held Friday
Chickasaw citizen Kevin Washburn has received wide-ranging support for his August 2 nomination by President Barack Obama to lead the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
That support continued during the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on Mr. Washburn’s nomination.
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby expressed his “unqualified support” for the nomination of Mr. Washburn today during the nomination hearing.
Gov. Anoatubby said that Kevin Washburn is a “shining example of a Native American who has made a lifetime commitment to serve Indian people.
“Kevin Washburn’s commitment to Indian country is well-documented,” said Gov. Anaotubby. “He has written extensively on federal Indian policy, criminal law in Indian Country, Indian gaming law and other relevant topics. Even more significant is the fact that his scholarship has helped lead to significant advances in Federal Indian policy.”
Tom Cole, Representative of Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District, said that Mr. Washburn’s skills, experience and knowledge make him a “superb selection” for the position of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.
Rep. Cole noted that Mr. Washburn understands that tribes exist to improve the lives of their people.
“Kevin doesn’t just know that. He’s seen it and he’s lived it through the experience of our tribe, the Chickasaw Nation,” said Rep. Cole. “He wants to ensure that all tribes and all Native Americans have the same opportunities and the same chances to excel that have been made possible by our leadership of our tribe, particularly Governor Anoatubby.”
Gov. Anoatubby said that Mr. Washburn has earned widespread support for his nomination.
Endorsements for Mr. Washburn’s nomination include Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Senator Tom Udall, the National American Indian Housing Council, the National Congress of American Indians, the United South and Eastern Tribes, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, the individual leaders of the leaders of the Five Civilized Tribes, The Albuquerque Journal and the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Gov. Anoatubby ended his testimony by encouraging the Senate to confirm the nomination of Mr. Washburn.
“His combination of knowledge and practical experience make him uniquely qualified to provide the strong leadership necessary to ensure the Bureau of Indian Affairs can be, and continue to be a positive force in helping enhance the quality of life of Indian people across the country,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “As governor of the Chickasaw Nation, I wholeheartedly support his nomination and urge a quick confirmation.”
Mr. Washburn has served as Dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law since June 2009. Prior to that, he served as the Rosenstiel Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law from 2008 to 2009 and as an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School from 2002 to 2008.
From 2007 to 2008, Mr. Washburn was the Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. Previously, he served as General Counsel for the National Indian Gaming Commission from 2000 to 2002, and as an Assistant United States Attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from 1997 to 2000.
Mr. Washburn was a trial attorney in the Indian Resources Section of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1994 to 1997. He earned a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
The hearing is the first step in the confirmation process. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will report the nomination to the Senate, which then votes on consent to the nomination. A simple majority vote is required for confirmation.
The nomination hearing can be seen in its entirety on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs website by clicking here.