SUBMITTED By DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk announced on Thursday, Feb. 4 that he has named Paula L. Hart as Director of the IA Office of Indian Gaming. Hart, an enrolled member of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in New York, had been serving as the office’s acting director since May 2008. The appointment became effective on February 1, 2010.
“I am pleased that Ms. Hart has accepted this opportunity to continue leading the Office of Indian Gaming,” Echo Hawk said. “Her knowledge and experience in the field of tribal gaming make her a strong member of my team.”
“I am grateful to have been provided this leadership opportunity,” Hart said. “I am looking forward to working with Assistant Secretary Echo Hawk to meet the goal of empowering tribal nations.”
Hart’s federal career began in March 1993 when she joined the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ ranks as a Rights Protection Specialist in its Eastern Area Office (now Eastern Regional Office), then located in Fairfax, Va., where she assisted federally recognized tribes with boundary disputes, treaty issues and tax rights.
In June 1994, she joined the Interior Department’s newly established office on tribal gaming as a Management Analyst, where she was tasked with developing the initial national guidance for Indian Country on gaming matters – some of which is still being used today.
From July 1997 to May 2005, Hart served as a Paralegal Specialist under the Director of the Office of Indian Gaming Management (now the Office of Indian Gaming). As such, she assisted the Director and senior operating staff on all legal matters concerning tribal government operations and authorities relating to Indian gaming operations.
She also served from May 2008 to May 2009 as the acting Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs where she advised on matters relating to human resources, budget and administrative functions of IA offices and programs, and worked on special projects concerning a variety of issues including federal acknowledgment, economic development, finance and tribal governance.
Hart holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. (1984) and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland’s School of Law in Baltimore (1990). She has been a member of the State Bar of Maryland since 1992.