Pawnee Tribal Member To Head Smithsonian's Indian Museum

Tuesday, September 11th 2007, 2:31 pm
By: News On 6

PHOENIX(AP) _ An Arizona State University law professor has been plucked from his job to run the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Kevin Gover, who had a private law practice in Albuquerque for 11 years, will start his new duties in December.

A member of the Pawnee tribe who grew up in Oklahoma, Gover, 52, is currently a law professor at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU and an associate judge on the Tonto Apache and San Carlos Apache tribal appeals courts.

Gover, a 1981 graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law, also served as an assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior during the Clinton administration from 1997 to 2000. He practiced law in Washington and Albuquerque before that.

Just before ending his tenure as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, he apologized for the BIA's ``legacy of racism and inhumanity'' that included massacres, forced relocations of tribes and attempts to wipe out Indian languages and cultures. ``By accepting this legacy, we accept also the moral responsibility of putting things right,'' he said in an emotional speech before tribal leaders marking the agency's 175th anniversary.