Lefler Lecture by Kevin Gover, Director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian
January 27, 2013 at 3:30–5 am[1h 30m]
Kevin Gover, Director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, will present a Lefler Lecture on Sunday, January 27 (3:30 p.m., Alumni Hall, Gustavus Adolphus College). The lecture, titled "The Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 and Contemporary Native Memory,” is presented in conjunction with the Hillstrom Museum of Art's exhibition Hena Uŋkiksuyapi: In Commemoration of the Dakota Mass Execution of 1862 (on view at the Hillstrom Museum of Art through February 8, 2013).
Gover's lecture is free and open to the public. Please note that the Hillstrom Museum of Art will be open extended hours that day, from 1 to 8 p.m.
Gover is a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and has been Director of the NMAI since 2007. He formerly served as professor of law at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe, as an affiliate professor in the University's American Indian Studies Program, and as the co-executive Director of the University's American Indian Policy Institute. He served as a Presidential appointee in the position of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior, from 1997-2000. A more extensive biography is appended below.
Hena Uŋkiksuyapi: In Commemoration of the Dakota Mass Execution of 1862 will be on view at the Hillstrom Museum of Art through February 8, 2013. Hena Uŋkiksuyapi, Dakota for "we remember those,” features artworks by Dakota and other Native American artists presented in commemoration of the mass execution on December 26, 1862 of 38 Dakota following the end of the Dakota-U.S. War of earlier that year. The exhibition includes works by artists Janice Albro, Joseph J. Allen, Gordon Coons, Jerry Fogg, Erin Griffin, Jacob Pratt, Mona Smith, Robert Two Bulls, and Gwen N. Westerman (exhibition co-curator).
Hena Uŋkiksuyapi was organized by the Hillstrom Museum of Art with the assistance of co-curator and participating artist Gwen N. Westerman. Dr. Westerman is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate and is a scholar on the faculty of Minnesota State University, Mankato, serving as professor of English and Humanities there. She is co-author, with Bruce White, of the 2012 book Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota, which examines the history of the Dakota people and their deep cultural connection with what is now Minnesota. She wrote an essay for the exhibition about what it means to commemorate the events of December 26, 1862.
A series of programs were planned in conjunction with Hena Uŋkiksuyapi, including screenings of the recent film Dakota 38 (8 p.m., Tuesday, December 11, 2012, Wallenberg Auditorium, Nobel Hall of Science, Gustavus Adolphus College; and 7 p.m., Thursday, January 10, 2013, Treaty Site History Center, St. Peter); a Round Table Discussion with artists and other members of the Dakota community, moderated by Dr. Chris Mato Nunpa, with a Musical Prelude in the form of a performance by a group of Dakota singers of the Dakota hymn Lac Qui Parle, presented after an Historical Discussion of the hymn by Reverend Sidney Byrd, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe; and a lecture by Kevin Gover, Director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian (3:30 p.m., Sunday, January 27, 2013, Alumni Hall, Gustavus Adolphus College).
Programming is presented as a collaborative effort of the Hillstrom Museum of Art with the College of Arts and Humanities of Minnesota State University, Mankato, the Nicollet County Historical Society, and the Building Bridges Conference Committee and the Diversity Center of Gustavus Adolphus College; Kevin Gover's lecture is supported by funds from the Lefler Lecture Fund.
As an historical adjunct to Hena Uŋkiksuyapi, a panel exhibition is being shown in an adjacent space. Titled Commemorating Controversy: The Dakota-U.S. War of 1862, it was created by Dr. Elizabeth Baer, Professor of English at Gustavus Adolphus College, and Ben Leonard, Director of the Nicollet County Historical Society with students in a 2012 Gustavus January Term class of the same name.
All events are free and open to the public. Regular Museum hours are weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and weekends, 1 to 5 p.m. Please visit the Museum's website at gustavus.edu/finearts/hillstrom for further information.
Kevin grew up in Lawton, Oklahoma and is a member of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. He began his career in Indian Affairs in 1975, working for the American Indian Policy Review Commission, a congressional commission chartered to study and report on conditions among American Indians and recommend policy changes to address problems. He was a specialist on the Task Force on Trust Responsibilities and the Federal Indian Relationship. After law school at the University of New Mexico, he clerked for two years for U.S. District Judge Juan Burciaga, District of New Mexico. In 1983, Kevin became an associate attorney in the Indian Law division of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Kampelman in Washington D.C., focusing almost exclusively on Indian Law matters and gaining experience in litigation and legislative representation of tribal clients. In 1986, he returned to New Mexico to form a small Indian law practice, Gover, Stetson and Williams. The firm grew to become one of the largest Indian owned law firms in the country.
In 1997, Kevin was appointed by President Clinton to serve as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior. He served in that position from 1997 to 2000, and was responsible for policy and operational oversight of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the agency responsible for the federal government's relations with Indian tribes. He oversaw programs in Indian education, law enforcement, social services, treaty rights and trust asset management. Kevin then resumed practicing law in Washington, D.C.
In 2003, Kevin accepted an appointment as a Professor of Law at the Arizona State University College of Law, where he worked with the both the Indian Legal Program and American Indian Policy Institute, as well as teaching Administrative Law, Statutory Interpretation, Legal Writing, and a variety of courses in Federal Indian Law. In addition, Kevin was a faculty affiliate of the University's American Indian Studies Program and taught undergraduates in that capacity.
In 2007, Kevin was appointed as Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Established in 1989 by an Act of Congress, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The museum includes the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall; the George Gustav Heye Center, a permanent museum in lower Manhattan; and the Cultural Resources Center, a research and collections facility in Suitland, Md.
Kevin's career of advocacy has resulted in several honors, including an honorary degree from Princeton University, the Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of New Mexico School of Law, and the Alumni Association Award from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire.
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