University of New Mexico Law School Dean Kevin Washburn said he would work to ensure the federal government meets its obligations to American Indians if confirmed as the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for Indian Affairs.
He also said he would support those tribes working toward greater self-governance.
Washburn testified Friday on his nomination before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C.
The committee has received letters of support for Washburn from dozens of tribes.
If the Senate confirms Washburn, his job would be to oversee the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Washburn is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and has been UNM law school dean since June 2009. He also worked as a federal prosecutor and has taught at law schools at the University of Arizona and the University of Minnesota.