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Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development – Indian Affairs

Gavin Clarkson is serving as the “Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development – Indian Affairs within the Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs.” This is a “supervisory position for the Offices of Indian Energy and Economic Development, Indian Gaming, and Self-Governance.”

Gavin Clarkson is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and has a “background in academia focused largely on tribal economic policy and development.” He has held numerous professorships at universities and law schools including Rice University, the University of Michigan, University of Houston Law Center, and most recently, New Mexico State University. In 2007, Clarkson was appointed a managing director of Native American Capital LLC, which is a “Native American business advisory services firm” that “targets business opportunities throughout Indian Country,” focusing on “infrastructure, real estate, the environment, health care, education, and commerce.” Clarkson was also “previously considered for the Special Trustee position at Interior during the early Obama administration.”

Sources: [Department of the Interior, Press Release, 07/06/17, Rob Capriccioso, “Republican Native Americans Jockey for Trump Administration Posts,” Indian Country Today, 01/23/17, and “Gavin Clarkson Appointed Native American Capital, LLC (NAC) Managing Director,” Native American Capital, 05/01/17]

Other Information

Gavin Clarkson has argued that “title to trust land can and should be returned to tribes.”

Gavin Clarkson, in 2014, co-wrote a law review article that argued that “a primary cause for the lack of on-reservation consumer options [was] the cumbersome and onerous policy of the United States government holding tribal land in trust.” Clarkson further argued that “title to trust land can and should be returned to tribes and individuals in fee under a new tribal status that confers permanent jurisdiction to the tribe.”

[Gavin Clarkson and Alisha Murphy, “Tribal Leakage: How the Curse of Trust Land Impedes Tribal Economic Self-Sustainability,” 05/07/14]

Gavin Clarkson, after attending one of Donald Trump’s Native American Listening Sessions, said he was “incredibly pleased with the receptiveness of the transition team.”

Gavin Clarkson, in December 2016, wrote that he was “incredibly pleased with the receptiveness of the transition team” after attending a Native American Listening Session with then President-elect Donald Trump. Clarkson also praised Trump’s choice of Ryan Zinke to run the Interior Department.

[Gavin Clarkson, “Gavin Clarkson: A tribal economic contract with President Donald Trump,” Indianz.com, 12/20/16]

In 2016, Gavin Clarkson and his girlfriend took donations to protestors protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Gavin Clarkson and his girlfriend, Alisha Murphy, in 2016, “haul[ed] much needed donations” to protestors protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Murphy started a GoFundMe page to raise money for “gas money, food, and enough to rent a trailer.” Murphy said that any “excess funds [would] be donated as cash to the Sacred Stone Camp.”

[Alisha Murphy, “#NoDAPL Donation Drive,” GoFundMe, accessed 07/21/17]