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Craig Kapitan, News Service (650) 724-5708; e-mail

Board of Trustees elects Richard West

Richard West, director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), was elected to the Board of Trustees Friday as the group conducted its last meeting of the academic year.

A member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, West has devoted much of his professional and personal life to working with American Indians on cultural, educational, legal and governmental issues.

"We're delighted to have Richard as a new trustee," board Chair Isaac Stein said. "As our first Native American trustee, he increases our diversity. But more important, he brings a unique skill set to our activities. As a lawyer and as the founding director of the National Museum of the American Indian, Richard has a broad range of experience in the not-for-profit sector."

As NMAI director, West is responsible for guiding the opening of the three facilities the museum will comprise -- the museum's exhibition facility in New York City, the Cultural Resources Center in Maryland, and the museum on the National Mall. He also has played a key role in guiding the philosophy of the "Fourth Museum," a community outreach program giving millions of people worldwide the opportunity to experience the museum's collection, photo archives, exhibitions and public programs.

Before becoming NMAI director, West was a co-founder and partner in the Indian-owned Albuquerque law firm of Gover, Stetson, Williams & West, P.C., where he was general counsel and special counsel to numerous Indian tribes and organizations. Previously, he was an associate attorney from 1972 to 1979 and partner from 1979 to 1988 with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.

At Stanford, West served on the Stanford Law School Board of Visitors from 1978 to 1981 and on the Libraries and Information Resources Advisory Council from 1992 to 1993. He is also a former adjunct professor at the Law School.

West earned his J.D. from Stanford in 1971; he was awarded the Hilmer Oehlmann Jr. Prize for excellence in legal writing and was editor of the Stanford Law Review. He also earned a master's degree in American history from Harvard University in 1968 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude in 1965 from the University of Redlands.


By Craig Kapitan

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