Stephen Greetham appointed Under Secretary of Department of Commerce Senior Counsel
November 12, 2021
Governor Bill Anoatubby has appointed Stephen Greetham Under Secretary Senior Counsel at the Chickasaw Nation Department of Commerce.
"Stephen Greetham has decades of experience representing Native American nations on issues of vital importance to the exercise of sovereignty and protection of natural resources," Gov. Anoatubby said. "His deep knowledge of the law and practical grasp of the political process, as well as his commitment to the Chickasaw Nation, make him well suited to serve in this role."
Mr. Greetham, an attorney, is also a published researcher, author and public speaker.
"I am blessed and proud to be part of Governor Anoatubby's team working on behalf of the Chickasaw people," Mr. Greetham said. "No matter the legal issues which consume day-to-day as one of the Nation's lawyers, my work is suffused and motivated by the importance of protecting tribal sovereignty, of working to ensure the Nation is stronger tomorrow than it was yesterday and that we are working toward making Chickasaws' lives better."
A son of Canadian immigrants, Mr. Greetham spent his formative years in New England. He said the Northeast will always be his personal homeland, though professional and personal endeavors led him west.
Mr. Greetham earned his juris doctor from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. His bachelor's degree is from Boston University.
Much of his legal career has been in service of Indian Country, including work in Washington, D.C. and Alaska, as well as New Mexico among the Pueblo tribes.
He has previously served as a field manager and assistant manager for the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group; program and research associate for the Environmental Research Fund in Washington, D.C.; law clerk with the honorable M. Christina Armijo in the New Mexico Court of Appeals; as well as partner and associate attorney at the Nordhaus Law Firm in Albuquerque, N.M.
As an educator, Mr. Greetham has served as adjunct professor in the law programs of the University of New Mexico (2005-2006) and the University of Oklahoma (2009-2017).
His personal and professional connection to Oklahoma tribes has been especially impactful.
"I met and fell in love with a remarkable Chickasaw woman, Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham, which brought me into her family and ultimately to work for the Nation," Mr. Greetham said.
Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham is 2018 Dynamic Chickasaw Woman of the Year and chair of the Department of Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She is an educator, researcher and author who worked closely with Gov. Anoatubby to launch the Chickasaw Cultural Center.
The Greethams moved from New Mexico to southern Oklahoma in 2006, a return home for one and the beginning of new opportunities for the other. Mr. Greetham has worked for the Chickasaw Nation since.
His positions with the Chickasaw Nation have included special counsel for water and natural resources, chief general counsel, and senior counsel.
Mr. Greetham considers the completion of two Native American water rights settlements to be highlights of his career.
The 2006 settlement of Taos Pueblo's claims to water in northern New Mexico, and the 2016 Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations' settlement of their respective claims to water and associated regulatory authority represent important milestones.
"As a non-Native, my interest in federal Indian law and working in Indian Country first arose from intellectual curiosity and challenge as a law student, but working directly with Native communities for the past 20 years has made it much deeper than that, Mr. Greetham said.
"I am in awe of the tenacity and commitment of tribal peoples to work toward the future no matter the injustices that have been hurled against them over the years. That history and purpose is deeply, deeply motivating," he said. "There remains so much work to do on behalf of the Chickasaw people, and I could not be prouder or happier than to be part of Governor's team and to offer whatever I can to the effort. This is good work, and it's a blessing to be part of it."