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2015 Alumni Dinner

NALSA is excited to host our Second Annual Alumni Awards Dinner on Thursday, October 22, 2015 from 6:00 - 9:30 pm at the Omni New Haven Hotel. The dinner will be held as a part of YLS’s 2015 Alumni Weekend. We will honor Arvo Mikkanen ’86 (Kiowa/Comanche) for his extraordinary contributions to Native nations and the Indian law field. Mr. Mikkanen is currently serving as the Assistant U.S. Attorney and Tribal Liaison for the Western District of Oklahoma.

NALSA Second Annual Alumni Awards Dinner
Thursday, October 22, 2015
6:00 p.m. - Cocktail Reception
7:00 p.m. - Dinner
Omni New Haven Hotel

The evening promises to be a wonderful opportunity for alumni and current students to socialize, build connections, and acknowledge the contributions of an extraordinary advocate and public servant.

Arvo Mikkanen '86 (Kiowa/Comanche)

Arvo Q. Mikkanen, a Kiowa/Comanche attorney, has a juris doctor degree from Yale Law School which he received in 1986. Mr. Mikkanen is currently an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma and was appointed to this position in 1994. His primary responsibility as a federal prosecutor has been handling criminal matters in federal court, including homicides, child sexual abuse, child physical abuse, assaults & domestic violence, bank robberies, illegal possession of firearms by felons & illegal aliens, illegal immigration enforcement, theft, robberies, arson, fish & wildlife offenses, assaults against federal officers, drug possession offenses and other violent crimes. He was the Department of Justice’s first designated “Tribal Liaison” in a U.S. Attorney’s Office and is the primary contact for the 21 tribal governments in his district.

From 1988 to 1994, he worked as an attorney in civil business practice with Andrews Davis Legg Bixler Milsten & Price, an Oklahoma City law firm and served as an adjunct professor of law and Associate Director of the Native American Legal Assistance Clinic at the Oklahoma City University School of Law from 1988 to 2000. From 1988 to 1994, he also served as a trial and appellate judge with the Court of Indian Offenses and Court of Indian Appeals for the Anadarko Area Tribes. From 1991 to 1994, he served as the Chief Justice of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Supreme Court. During his period of service on these courts, Mr. Mikkanen handled hundreds of hearings and wrote close to twenty formal opinions, the majority of which are published on Westlaw. 

He is a 1983 Phi Beta Kappa and honors graduate of Dartmouth College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government, and Certification in Native American Studies. After graduating from Yale Law School, Mr. Mikkanen worked as a law clerk for federal judges at the United States Claims Court in Washington, DC and at the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Texas. He is a member of the American, Federal and Oklahoma Bar Associations, has served as the president of the Oklahoma Indian Bar Association since 1990, and was the president of the nationwide National Native American Bar Association in 1991 and again in 1995. He has lived in Oklahoma since 1988 and is 51 years old.

In 1992 he received recognition from the Oklahoma Bar Association by receiving the Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award. He also received a similar award from Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, Inc. for Pro Bono Service in 1992. In 1994 he received a Special Appreciation Award from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma and in 1997 he also received a Meritorious Service Award from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for his efforts at improving the investigation and prosecution of crimes in Indian country. He received the 2003 Sonja Atetewuthtakewa Award for Distinguished Service in the Protection of Native American Children and in 2004 he received the American Bar Association Commission for Racial and Ethnic Diversity's Spirit of Excellence Award. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Exceptional Service Award from the National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys. In 2012, he received the U.S. Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service in Indian Country from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. 

He is frequent instructor for law enforcement and attorneys, having given over 150 workshops, symposia, and instructional seminars. He has also repeatedly served as an invited faculty lecturer for prosecutor training seminars at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina.

He is an enrolled member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and a member of the Kiowa Gourd Clan men’s warrior society. He is married to Tracey Satepauhoodle-Mikkanen, has two children, Brandon and Julia and lives in Norman, Oklahoma. He is the son of Cornelia Quoetone Karty and the late Jackson Mikkanen. His maternal grandparents were William “Bill” Quoetone, a drafter of the original Kiowa Constitution, and Lottie Quassicker Quoetone.