Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs Page
Lawrence S. Roberts
Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs
U.S. Department of the Interior
Lawrence S. “Larry” Roberts, an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, a post he has held since July 2013. From January 1 to July 28, 2016, he also held the title of acting Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs following the departure of Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn at the end of December 2015. Currently, Mr. Roberts is Indian Affairs’ highest ranking official.
He joined the Assistant Secretary’s office as Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs on September 6, 2012, after serving as General Counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), a post he had held since July 2010.
Mr. Roberts began his legal career with the U.S. Department of Justice as a trial attorney in DOJ’s Indian Resources Section, where he handled a variety of federal Indian law cases for the benefit of tribal interests including the protection of tribal reserved treaty hunting and fishing rights. He subsequently joined the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of General
Counsel, where he provided counsel on the implementation of federal environmental programs
by federally recognized tribes. Mr. Roberts left EPA in 2002 to work in private practice on federal Indian law and environmental matters, which he did until joining the Commission’s staff, As NIGC general counsel, he advised on matters concerning the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and other relevent laws and regulations.
From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Roberts served as chair of the Native American Resources Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. In 2011, he co-chaired the Federal Bar Association’s Federal Indian Law Conference in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Roberts graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992 with a double major
in Political Science and Sociology and from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1995.
He is a member of the Washington, D.C., Bar and the Wisconsin Bar.
Letter to the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Nation
Retrocession to the United States of partial civil and criminal jurisdiction over the Yakima Nation. Letter to tribe, October 19, 2015
Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Affirms Status of Tejon Indian Tribe, Calif.
Corrected Letter sent to Tejon Indian Tribe, Calif. - January 06, 2012 - pdf 191kb
Press Release - January 3, 2012 - 35 kb
Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs' Progress of Empowerment Agenda
In a keynote address to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) 2011 mid-year conference, Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk described the progress being made in a comprehensive agendea to restore integrity in U.S. government relations with American Indian and Alaska Native leaders, fulfill trust responsibilities to tribal members, and to work cooperatively to build stronger economies and safer tribal communities.
click here to download the document
Memorandum of Understanding between U.S. Department of the Interior and The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
The purposes of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) are to identify areas of possible future collaboration by which the respective parties can work together effectively to enhance practical knowledge concerning economic development for Indian tribes and tribal communities.
Download it here.
Brief Summary of the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs
The Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs assists and supports the Secretary of the Interior in fulfilling the United States’ trust responsibility to the Federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages and individual Indian trust beneficiaries, as well as in maintaining the Federal-Tribal government-to-government relationship.
The AS-IA is supported by the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs; the Deputy Assistant Secretary-Management, whose area includes the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), the Office of Information Management Technology (OIMT), the Office of Human Capital Management (OHCM), the Office of Planning and Policy Analysis (OPPA), and the Office of Facilities, Environmental and Cultural Resources (OFECR); and the Deputy Assistant Secretary-Policy and Economic Development, who oversees the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED), the Office of Indian Gaming (OIG), and the Office of Self-Governance (OSG). The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which has the Office of Indian Services (OIS), the Office of Field Operations (OFO), the Office of Justice Services (OJS), and the Office of Trust Services (OTS); the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE); the Office of External Affairs, which is comprised of the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs (OCLA) and the Office of Public Affairs (OPA); the Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA); and the Office of Regulatory Management (ORM) also report directly to the AS-IA.
There have been 12 AS-IAs since the post was established by DOI Secretarial order in 1977: Forrest J. Gerard, Blackfeet (1977-1980); Thomas W. Fredericks, Mandan-Hidatsa (1981); Kenneth L. Smith, Wasco (1981-1984); Ross O. Swimmer, Cherokee Nation (1985-1989); Dr. Eddie F. Brown, Tohono O’odham-Yaqui (1989-1993); Ada E. Deer, Menominee (1993-1997); Kevin Gover, Pawnee (1997-2001); Neal McCaleb, Chickasaw Nation (2001-2002); David W. Anderson, Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa-Choctaw (2004-2005); Carl J. Artman, Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin (2007-2008); Larry Echo Hawk, Pawnee (2009-2012); Kevin K. Washburn, Chickasaw Nation (2012-2016).