On September 11, 2007, Kevin Gover was named director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, effective Dec. 2. He is currently a professor of law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe, an affiliate professor in its American Indian Studies Program and co-executive director of the university’s American Indian Policy Institute.
During the Clinton administration, Gover served as assistant secretary for Indian affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior where he oversaw the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Gover grew up in Oklahoma and is a member of the Pawnee tribe.
Gover succeeds W. Richard West Jr., who was the founding director of the National Museum of the American Indian (1990-2007). In an extensive article on Gover’s background, the Washington Post revealed that he had twice in his career worked at the same law firm as West. The article also details controversies involving Gover’s involvement in lobbying for Indian tribes within days after leaving the Interior Department.