Monday, December 24, 2012

Kevin Washburn

 Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs

Kevin Wasburn was nominated in August 2012 by President Obama to the position of Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior.  On September 21, 2012 he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

I didn't know much about Kevin Washburn and decided to do a little google searching.

He does have a Wiki Entry

He has quite a background which includes (information from Wiki):

General Counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) from January 2000 to July 2002

Author of a law school casebook on Gaming Law and Regulation

Taught the first course at Hardvard University on Gaming/Gambling Law in that school’s history

Scholarship focusing on the intersection of Federal Indian law and criminal law

Author of one of the principal casebooks on Federal Indian Law, entitled American Indian Law: Native Nations and the Federal System

Enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, a federally recognized Indian nation.

Taught Gaming/Gambling Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, Harvard Law School, the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, and the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Was a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School

Served as an Assistant United States Attorney in New Mexico
Was named the dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law on March 3, 2009

This is just some of what Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn has accomplished.  There's actually much more.

Here are some articles:

Salazar Applauds Senate Confirmation of Kevin Washburn as Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs 

Q&A With Ken Salazar and Kevin Washburn

From One Who’s Been There: Kevin Gover’s Advice for Kevin Washburn

This really is a challenging job.  There are 304 Indian Reservations across the United States.  Each has its own unique tribal governing documents, enrollment procedures, natural resources, economic development, gaming, sacred sites, and other issues.  There are a myriad of lawsuits the BIA is facing over trust disputes, land into trust, gaming compacts, etc etc.

One thing I didn't even realize was an issue until I did some reading is wind power.  Apparently there are some issues with Wind Turbines being built on sacred ground that needs to be addressed.  There's so much going on I can't imagine how it all gets tackled and dealt with.

This excerpt comes from the article above titled From One Who’s Been There: Kevin Gover’s Advice for Kevin Washburn:

What are some of the major challenges that Kevin Washburn is facing?

First of all, it’s strange to come in at the tail end of a president’s term, but it does give him these couple of months to intensely study what’s been going on. He hasn’t been in Washington for a long time, so he will be getting caught up of all the details. Catching up is no small matter. Next, he has to confront the reality that decisions about Indian affairs have been being made all over the Department—not just at the BIA. His predecessor [Larry] Echo Hawk recused himself on a lot of key issues, including Cobell, trust, and the federal recognition cases. That means somebody else, somewhere else in the building, has been handling those issues. Those are major responsibilities for the Assistant Secretary to get back under his portfolio. I also hope the White House allows him to bring in some of his own staff to help him get up to speed, so he doesn’t have to worry about working with others who have their own agendas.