Kirke Kickingbird, a member of the Kiowa Tribe and Kiowa Gourd Clan, has devoted his professional career to helping Indian people get interpretations of the law that will benefit their personal interests as well as the interests of tribal governments. His expertise has enabled him to work effectively in legal, political, academic, and business arenas in order to ensure that the Indian viewpoint is taken seriously. In his work, Kirke has provided training and technical assistance to more than 150 tribal governments within the United States and Canada, and has worked with the United States government and world experts on international treaty issues affecting indigenous people.
Kirke joined the firm in 2000 and today is working on gaming issues for Oklahoma tribes and tribal government reform. In this capacity he assists in revising constitutions, drafting ordinances, and lobbying state legislators and the governor’s office over policy developments and interpretation. Kirke also works on tax issues in response to federal and tribal tax commission inquiries. He provides a valuable link between the Washington DC establishment, academia, business, and the Indian community.
Among his accomplishments, from 1988-2000, Kirke directed the Native American Legal Resource Center at Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he served on the faculty. He served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and as Chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission from 1992-1995. He also led the legal and court management review of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Tribal Court System from 1992-1993. In March 1995, he was appointed Special Counsel on Indian Affairs to the Governor of Oklahoma, Frank Keating, a post held for five years. He was appointed by Oklahoma Chief Justice Opala to serve on the Oklahoma Supreme Court Committee to Recommend Standards for Granting Full Faith and Credit to the Judicial Proceedings of Indian Tribes, Nations and Bands (1992-1994).
Kirke has written extensively on matters related to Indian law and tribal governance, beginning with his first book in 1973, One Hundred Million Acres,” nominated to the Pulitzer Committee. In 1987, his book, Indians and the U.S. Constitution: A Forgotten Legacy, was honored by the U.S. Bicentennial Commission. While executive director of the Washington-based Institute for the Development of Indian Law (1971-1983), he and his staff wrote a popular set of books for tribal leaders.
Kirke devotes his spare time to helping Indian youth by serving on the board of directors at both the Oaks Indian Mission, and Nation Building for Native Youth.
Board of Governors, American Bar Association, 1996-2000
President, Native American Bar Association
Oklahoma Indian Bar Association
Chair, Native American Resources Committee, ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
Executive Director, Washington-based Institute for the Development of Indian Law, 1971-1983
President, Native American Housing Board
University of Oklahoma, J.D., 1969; B.A., 1966;
District of Columbia
Federal Tax Court