Albuquerque attorney Rodina Cole Cave has earned an appointment to the U.S. Department of the Interior to serve as senior policy advisor to the assistant secretary of Indian Affairs.
The Executive Branch appointed Cave to the position in July. She began work immediately in Washington, D.C., with Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn.
Cave practiced law at the New Mexico firm of Sutin, Thayer & Browne from 2011 until her appointment, primarily in Indian law and commercial litigation. She had been in practice since 2003, representing Indian tribes and tribal entities in administrative and regulatory proceedings, in environmental matters, on tribal governance issues and on economic development projects. She worked on several large breach-of-trust cases brought by tribes in federal courts. In addition to her Indian law practice, she has extensive experience in federal and state matters involving complex litigation and appeals.
Cave also served as an adjunct professor at the UNM School of Law and taught the Indian law course for the American Indian Law Center Pre-Law Summer Institute in 2011. She is a past chair of the Indian Law Section of the New Mexico State Bar.
Sutin, Thayer & Browne President and CEO Jay D. Rosenblum said the firm was pleased.
“We knew when Rodina joined us two years ago that she would make us proud,” Rosenblum said. “She is absolutely the right person for this important job. We wish her great luck in her new venture.”
Cave is of Quechua (Peruvian Indian) descent and is originally from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Her domestic partner is New Mexico State District Judge William E. Parnall.
Cave was admitted to the State Bar of Arizona in 2003, the State Bar of New Mexico in 2005, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico in 2005 and the Navajo Nation Bar in 2011. She attended University of Massachusetts Amherst and Arizona State University College of Law. She clerked for the Hon. William C. Canby Jr. with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is the oldest bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior, providing services to 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. The bureau is responsible for administering and managing 55 million surface acres and 57 million acres of subsurface minerals estates held in trust by the United States for American Indians and tribes and Alaska Natives.
Sutin, Thayer & Browne is the largest women-owned law firm in New Mexico, providing exceptional legal services since 1946.