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Press Release

Release Date: September 19, 2017

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office



John Tahsuda III, a member of the Kiowa Tribe with significant ties to Oklahoma, was recently named Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs by U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke.

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said that Tahsuda is well-suited to the position.

“John Tahsuda is an excellent choice for this position,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “During his more than 20 years of experience in both tribal and federal government and also in the private sector, he has gained the knowledge and perspective needed to serve effectively as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. During his career, he has demonstrated that he will be an effective advocate for Native Americans in Oklahoma and across the United States.”

In 2008, Tahsuda received the Modern Day Warrior Award from the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association. The award is designed to honor professionals in the Indian Gaming Industry who have dedicated tireless effort and support to champion the cause of Oklahoma Tribal Government Gaming.

Matthew Komalty, chairman of the Kiowa Tribe, was quoted in the Oklahoman saying, "I'm confident he will be an effective advocate for our tribes."

National Congress of the American Indian Executive Director Jacqueline Pata said recently that Tahsuda “is a great choice” for the position, adding “his comprehensive expertise in Indian Affairs will serve Indian Country well.”

Prior to his selection as Principal Assistant Secretary, Tahsuda was a principal at Navigators Global LLC, a full-service issues management, government relations and strategic communications firm located in Washington, D.C.

Tahsuda led the company’s tribal affairs practice providing clients with advocacy and counsel services on a range of tribal affairs policy issues at state and federal levels, including gaming, tax incentives, tobacco sales, land-into-trust issues, health care, economic development, energy policy, federal recognition, and self-governance.

Before joining Navigators Global, he served on the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. He was Senior Legal Counsel for Senator Ben Night Horse Campbell when he chaired the committee. He later served as staff director for Senator John McCain when he chaired the committee.

Tahsuda was also engaged in private practice providing legal advice and legislative counseling to Indian tribes and tribal organizations. He served as general counsel and legislative director of the National Indian Gaming Association from 1999 to 2001.

Before joining NIGA, he served the Oneida Indian Nation of New York as acting general counsel with responsibilities that included overseeing its legal needs and business enterprises. From 1997 through 2001, he also served as an adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School where he taught courses on federal Indian law, policy and history.

He has also served as a member of the Tribal Board of Advisors of TFA Capital Partners, an investment banking firm offering advisory and consulting services to commercial and Tribal gaming and leisure industries.

Tahsuda earned a juris doctorate from Cornell Law School in 1993 and a Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma State University in 1990.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016