Arvo Mikkanen Honored at 2nd Annual NALSA Alumni Awards Dinner

October 26, 2015

On October 22nd, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, Arvo Mikkanen (Law ’86) returned to Yale for a series of meetings with law students, a noontime presentation at the Yale Law School, and an evening reception with fellow graduates of the Yale Law School. A member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Mikkanen has, for over two decades, handled criminal matters in federal court. For his tireless work in the protection of American Indians and in defense of tribal sovereignty, he received the 2nd Native American Law Student Association Alumni Achievement Award.

Prior to his current appointment, Mr. Mikkanen served as the Chief Justice of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Supreme Court. He previously also served as a tribal and appellate judge with the Court of Indian Offenses and Court of Indian Appeals for the Anadarko Area Tribes and, collectively, handled hundreds of hearings and authored nearly twenty formal opinions, the majority of which are on Westlaw. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Mikkanen has also received numerous national awards, including the U.S. Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service in Indian Country from Attorney General Eric Holder.

Before a full Yale Law School lecture classroom, Mr. Mikkanen’s lunchtime talk surveyed the competing jurisdictional questions arising from criminal legal practice in Indian country and underscored the myriad legalities involved in Native American criminal law practice. At the evening reception, NALSA and members of the Yale Blue Feather student drum group welcomed and honored Mikkanen and participated in the Yale Law School’s Affinity Group Alumni Reunion.