Cultural Arts & Museum Consultation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 29, 2008
CONTACT: Stephine Poston (505) 379-6172

W. Richard West Re-joins
National Indian Law Firm

Albuquerque, New Mexico—W. Richard West Jr., Founding Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian and a member of the Southern Cheyenne Tribe, has re-joined his former partner Cate Stetson in Stetson Law Offices, P.C. The two were law partners in Gover, Stetson, Williams & West before West left to join the Smithsonian twenty years ago. He has now returned to Stetson as an Of Counsel attorney and will head up the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. His focus will be cultural, art, and museum issues; sacred sites protection; and graves repatriation.

“We are thrilled and quite frankly honored to have Rick back” said Cate Stetson. “Who in the world knows more about tribal museums and cultures? No one!” His strong background and experience in repatriation, contemporary Indian art, and museum development will be useful to many tribal clients. “While issues such as gaming tend to grab the headlines, the more subtle issues of cultural vitality and preservation are incredibly significant to most Indian tribes” said Cate.

West was educated at University of Redlands (magna cum laude), Harvard (M.A.), and Stanford University (J.D.) and is licensed in Washington, D.C. and California. “I am really rather excited about all of this,” he said. “I never thought anyone would lure me back anywhere near the law, but Cate doesn’t run the typical law firm, and it was a surprisingly easy decision for me to rejoin such an innovative, dynamic group.”

West and Stetson have shared a mutual commitment to the arts, and have been involved with artists and art institutions since long before they met in 1986. Today the Stetson Indian art collection of over 200 contemporary Indian pieces is well-known in Indian Country. West’s commitment to the arts and to tribal issues is exemplified by the fact that he is a member of the Executive Council, International Council of Museums; and a member of the National Support Committee, Native American Rights Fund; and the Professional Arts Advisory Committee for the Friends of Art and Preservation in Embassies. He is also on the Board of Trustees for the Ford Foundation and the National Parks Conservation Association, among others.