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Kevin Gover

Board Member, Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, Smithsonian Institution

Kevin Gover is the Under Secretary for Museums and Culture at the Smithsonian. The Office of the Under Secretary for Museums and Culture oversees the Institution’s history and art museums, its cultural centers, and the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Exhibits and the National Collections Program. He had served as director of the National Museum of the American Indian from 2007 until January 2021. He is a citizen of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. 

Gover received his bachelor’s degree in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and his juris doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law. He was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Princeton in 2001 and an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Brown in 2016. Gover was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020.  Following law school, Kevin established a small Native American-owned law firm that specialized in federal Indian law. Gover, Stetson, Williams & West, P.C. grew into the largest Indian-owned law firm in the country and represented tribes and tribal agencies in a dozen states. 

Gover served as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1997 to 2000 under President Bill Clinton, where he won praise for his efforts to rebuild long-neglected Indian schools and expand tribal and Bureau of Indian Affairs police forces throughout the country. His tenure as Assistant Secretary is known for his apology to Native Americans for the historical conduct of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

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