Assistant Secretary Washburn plans to return to New Mexico

Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn. Photo from Senate Committee on Indian Affairs / Flickr

Clarification: Kevin Washburn told Indian Country Today that he plans to return to the University of New Mexico as a professor. He is not expected to return as dean of the law school.

Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the leader of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, plans to return to his job at the University of New Mexico School of Law but the timing is up in the air.

Washburn was confirmed to his post in September 2012. He is on leave as dean of the law school and he told Indian Country Today that he intends to return to the school before the end of the Obama administration.

"I have promised to return to the law school classroom in my home state of New Mexico by the spring semester of 2017, so I likely will not remain all the way through to the very end," Washburn told ICT. The second term of President Barack Obama ends on January 20, 2017.

Washburn is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. He's the second Chickasaw citizen to serve as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs -- the first was Neal McCaleb, who served during the Bush administration.

Including Washburn, four of the last six assistant secretaries have been members of a tribe based in Oklahoma. A fifth had a parent who was a member of an Oklahoma tribe.

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