Catherine Baker Stetson Biography
While working in all areas of Indian law and providing lobbying services to tribal clients, Cate’s current focus includes on- and off-reservation commercial transactions, tribal housing, code development, tribal corporations, and gaming. She has served as a Vice Chair of the American Bar Association, Native American Resources Committee, and as a Vice Chair on the Environmental Quality Committee. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Board of Directors.
Cate has practiced in the federal and state courts as well as in numerous tribal courts including those of Crow Tribal Court, Wind River Tribal Court, Jicarilla Tribal Court, Washoe Tribal Court, and the Pueblo courts of Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Isleta, Laguna, Zuni, Pojoaque, Acoma, and Tesuque, among others. Cate is the past Chair of the New Mexico State Bar Federal Indian Law Specialization Committee and of the Indian Law Section of the New Mexico State Bar, as well as past co-chair of the Law Office Management Committee. She is licensed in New Mexico, Washington DC, Nebraska, New York, Minnesota, and Washington State.
Cate's Indian law experience has been largely in working on housing and commercial transactions on Indian reservations. She has helped develop on-reservation restaurants, casinos, hotels, shopping centers, mobile home parks, sanitary landfills, and gas stations, and also has designed tribal regulatory and business structures intended to complement individual tribes' economic development objectives.
Cate has been at the forefront of many legal and political initiatives prior to this. She handled the first death penalty appeal in the State of New Mexico in 1981, was instrumental in creating the Indian Law Section of the NM State Bar in 1986, and in 2004 pushed for the first and only bar-certified Federal Indian Law specialty for tribal attorneys in the country.
Cate Stetson was the first New Mexico State Bar Certified specialist in Federal Indian law and served as the first Chair of the Federal Indian Law Specialty Committee. Cate has also been a political activist and fundraiser, primarily for the Democratic Party, active in her own state as well as nationally on behalf of Clinton/Gore, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. In 1992, she and her then-partner Kevin Gover created and ran Native Americans for Clinton-Gore and were the first to successfully coordinate tribal fundraising at a national level. At about the same time, their firm was named one of the Top Ten Women-Owned Businesses in New Mexico—the first NM law firm ever to achieve that honor. She is also the owner of Tribal Business Opportunities, Inc. a financial consulting firm for tribal and reservation-based commercial development.