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National Indian museum taps ASU’s Gover as new director

September 14, 2007

Kevin Gover, a professor at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and co-executive director of the American Indian Policy Institute, has been named director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Patricia White, dean of the College of Law, says Gover will remain a professor at the law school on leave for the duration of his time at the museum and will teach intersession or abbreviated classes as his schedule permits.

A search committee recommended Gover’s appointment to Cristián Samper, the acting secretary of the Smithsonian. On Dec. 2, Gover will succeed W. Richard West Jr., the museum’s founding director, who is retiring after 17 years.

Established by Congress in 1989, the museum comprises the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, the George Gustav Heye Center in Lower Manhattan and the American Indian Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Md.

Gover, 52, is a member of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and also is an affiliate professor of the American Indian Studies Program. He joined the faculty at the College of Law in July 2003.

Gover served as the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the Interior Department from 1997 to 2000. He majored in public and international affairs at Princeton, then received his law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law three years later, in 1981.