Arvo Mikkanen, President
OIBA Leadership Profiles:
Arvo Mikkanen (born 1961) is an Assistant United States Attorney with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Oklahoma. Mikkanen has been a federal prosecutor since 1994 and has prosecuted cases involving violent crimes, physical and sexual assaults, homicides, firearms offenses, immigration offenses, wildlife violations, embezzlement, drug offenses, government corruption, as well a civil cases involving administrative law, foreclosures, and government regulations. He has been counsel of record in over 475 cases in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, having handled numerous civil cases, juvenile delinquency adjudications, and criminal prosecutions, including bench and jury trials, as well as oral arguments before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. He is a lecturer and frequent instructor in federal criminal investigations, prosecution issues and Indian affairs law.

Education & Background

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth College in 1983 Magna Cum Laude (Government Major) and Yale Law School in 1986, Mikkanen is half American Indian and is an enrolled member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and is also of Comanche and Finnish descent. He was born in Denver, Colorado, has resided in Norman, Oklahoma for the past 22 years and is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association. 

Judicial Experience

He is a former judge of the Court of Indian Offenses for the Anadarko Area Tribes (1988-1994), a federally administered court which is part of the U.S. Department of Interior that serves as the judiciary for a number of Indian tribes without their own tribal court, and formerly served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Cheyenne Arapaho Tribes (1991-1994). Mikkanen previously was employed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Tyler, Texas as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Robert M. Parker and was employed by the United States Claims Court (now the U.S. Court of Federal Claims) in Washington, DC as a law clerk to Judge Lawrence S. Margolis.

Prior Law Practice

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney's Office, he was an associate attorney and litigator with the Andrews Davis law firm in Oklahoma City from 1988 to 1994 where he engaged in business practice, products liability defense, trademark law, real estate law, insurance defense, and commercial litigation in state and federal courts.

Awards, Honors, Bar Association & Teaching Activities

Mikkanen received the William S. Churchill prize as the outstanding freshman at Dartmouth College for the Class of 1983 and received the Morrell Goldberg Prize for academic service several years later. He was also the recipient of the Gold United States Congressional Award from the U.S. Congress in 1985. He was the Class Marshal for the Class of 1986 at the Yale Law School and received the Beinecke Award in 1986. Mikkanen received the Oklahoma Bar Association's Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award in 1992, and the Equal Access to Justice - Pro Bono Publico Award from Oklahoma Indian Legal Services in 1992. He was the recipient of the American Bar Association's Spirit of Excellence Award in 2004 and received the Sonja Atetewuthtakewa Award for Distinguished Service in the Protection of Native American Children in 2003. Mikkanen, president of the Oklahoma Indian Bar Association, and two time past president of the National Native American Bar Association (1991 & 1995), also served as an adjunct professor of law at the Oklahoma City University School of Law from 1988 to 2000.

Published Judicial Opinions & Publications

Mustang Fuel Corporation v. Cheyenne-Arapaho Tax Commission, 4 Okla. Trib. 1, 1994 WL 1047927, Cheyenne-Arapaho, January 03, 1994 (NO. CNA-SC-91-02); Combrink v. Allen, 3 Okla. Trib. 46, 1993 WL 831921, Tonkawa CIA, March 05, 1993 (NO. CIV-92-A08P);
Learned v. Cheyenne-Arapaho Election Board, 2 Okla. Trib. 445, 1992 WL 752129, Cheyenne-Arapaho, December 11, 1992 (NO. CNA-SC-92-02);Wright v. Cannedy, 2 Okla. Trib. 363, 1992 WL 752144, Wichita CIA, February 20, 1992 (NO. CIV-90-A03P);
Keechi v. Snake, 2 Okla. Trib. 359, 1992 WL 752143, Delaware CIA, February 14, 1992 (NO. CIV-91-A15P); Woodward v. Goombi, 2 Okla. Trib. 330, 1991 WL 733407, Kiowa CIA, December 06, 1991 (NO. CIV-91-A114) (dissent); Pawnee Tribe v. Franseen, 2 Okla. Trib. 291, 1991 WL 733408, Pawnee CIA, September 17, 1991 (NO. CIV-90-A07P); Williams v. McAdams, 2 Okla. Trib. 282, 1991 WL 733415, Wichita CIA, August 05, 1991 (NO. CIV-90-A111);
Holder v. Hunter, 2 Okla. Trib. 269, 1991 WL 733410, Delaware CIA, July 12, 1991 (NO. CIV-91-A03P); Gallegos v. French, 2 Okla. Trib. 209, 1991 WL 733411, Delaware CIA, June 04, 1991 (NO. CIV-90-A09P); Apache Election Board v. Wildes, 2 Okla. Trib. 136, 1990 WL 655885, Apache CIA, December 07, 1990 (NO. CIV-90-A08P);
Kerchee v. Kerchee, 2 Okla. Trib. 132, 1990 WL 655886, Comanche CIA, November 21, 1990 (NO. JFD-90-A05P); Haddon v. Standing, 2 Okla. Trib. 119, 1990 WL 655883, Wichita CIA, November 07, 1990 (NO. CIV-90-AO2P); Executive Committee of the Wichita Tribe v. Bell, 2 Okla. Trib. 107, 1990 WL 655879, Wichita CIA, September 26, 1990 (NO. CIV-90-A04P); Wahkinney v. Wahkinney, 2 Okla. Trib. 11, 1990 WL 655887, Comanche CIA, February 11, 1990 (NO. CIV-89-A03P); In the Matter of C.D.S., 1 Okla. Trib. 256, 1988 WL 521352, Delaware CIO, November 23, 1988 (NO. PG-87-A50); Ponca Tribal Election Board v. Snake, 1 Okla. Trib. 209, 1988 WL 521355, Ponca CIA, November 10, 1988 (NO. CIV-88-P05P); In the Matter of C.D.S., 1 Okla. Trib. 200, 1988 WL 521353, Delaware CIO, October 13, 1988 (NO. PG-87-A50); Oklahoma Tribal Court Reports, Vol. 1 & 2, Associate Editor, Summer 1994, Oklahoma City University Law School; "Skaw-tow:  The Centennial of the Last Kiowa Sundance," Vol. 10, American Indian Journal, Summer 1987; "Rice v. Rehner:  A Limitation on the Exercise of Tribal Governmental Powers Based Upon Historical Factors?", Vol. 9, American Indian Journal, Summer 1986; “Coming Home” by Arvo Q. Mikkanen  First Persons, First Peoples: Native American College Graduates Tell their Life Stories, ed. by Andrew Garrod & Colleen Larimore, 1997, Cornell University Press; “Oklahoma Indian Attorneys” by Arvo Q. Mikkanen & Dana G. Jim, 75 Oklahoma Bar Journal 58 (September 11, 2007); Federal Prosecution of Juveniles, USA Bulletin, U.S. Dept. of Justice, July 2010. 

Lisa Impson, Vice President

J. Lisa Impson works as an attorney and in-house counsel for the office of the Gaming Commissioner of the Chickasaw Nation in Ada, Oklahoma. She has been in her current position as Special Counsel to the Gaming Commissioner since early 2009.

Education & Prior Law Practice

A graduate of the University of Tulsa College of Law and East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, Ms. Impson formerly was an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Justice of the Chickasaw Nation and previously was in private practice with Legal Advocates for Indian Country, a law firm in Owasso, Oklahoma. Ms. Impson is currently working on a Masters of Public Education at the University of Oklahoma. She has also served as a legal assistant and legal clerk with the Legislature of the Chickasaw Nation on more than one occasion. 

Bar Association Activities

She was the Chair of the Indian Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association and was the Chair of the Chickasaw Bar Association in 2008. Ms. Impson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chickasaw Historical Society, a member of the Pontotoc County Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association's Indian Law Section.

While in law school she was the recipient of numerous advocacy awards in connection with moot court competitions. 

Leslie Taylor, Secretary

Leslie Taylor is an attorney with the Delaware Nation.

Josie Stanley, Treasurer

Josie Stanley is an attorney with Oklahoma Indian Legal Services in Oklahoma City and is a member of the Cherokee Nation.  She has worked at Oklahoma Indian Legal Services for a number of years and actively practices in state and tribal courts in Oklahoma.

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