(Story by Matt Thomas ’00)
Kevin Gover, Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), will present this year’s Herbert and Mary Jane Lefler Lecture at Gustavus Adolphus College at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27 in Alumni Hall. The lecture, titled “The Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 and Contemporary Native Memory,” is presented by the College’s Hillstrom Museum of Art with support from the Lefler Lecture Series, in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibition Hena Uŋkiksuyapi: In Commemoration of the Dakota Mass Execution of 1862. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Gover is a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and has been Director of the NMAI since 2007. Established in 1989 by an Act of Congress, the NMAI 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.
Gover 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 to 2000.
Gover’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, N.H.
The Lefler Lecture at Gustavus was established in 1993 by Mary Jane Lefler in memory of her husband, Herbert P. Lefler. The event occurs annually and carries on the Lefler family tradition of inquiry and learning by funding a scholar to visit campus for 2-3 days. In the past, the program has brought professors, artists, and a variety of specialists to campus.