Staff Report

Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has joined the board of directors of the Native American Rights Fund, the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide.

Since 1970, NARF has represented tribes in hundreds of major cases and has achieved significant results in such areas as tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection and Indian education.

NARF is governed by a volunteer board of directors composed of 13 Native Americans from different tribes throughout the country with a variety of expertise in Indian matters. Kahn will be the lone California representative.

“NARF has a long track record of supporting the rights of those throughout Indian country without asking for compensation,” Kahn said. “I’m proud to be a part of this great nonprofit as it works to promote Native American rights.”

Kahn, 40, has served as a member of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians’ leadership since 2003. He won a special election to become the tribal chairman in April 2016 and was re-elected to a two-year term in March.

During his seven terms of service, the tribe has expanded its Chumash Casino Resort, purchased 1,390 acres of Santa Ynez ranch land called Camp 4, acquired two hotels and a restaurant in Solvang, California, and launched its own wine label – Kitá Wines.

Kahn has also been instrumental in the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indian’s efforts to have Camp 4 placed into federal trust

“We are very pleased that Chairman Kahn has joined our board,” said John Echohawk, NARF’s executive director.  “We look forward to his leadership and guidance on the important legal work that the Native American Rights Fund does across Indian country.”

NARF is a non-profit 501c(3) organization that focuses on applying existing laws and treaties to guarantee that national and state governments live up to their legal obligations. It’s based in Boulder, Colorado, with branch offices in Washington, D.C., and Anchorage, Alaska.

NARF’s staff of 16 attorneys handles more than 50 major cases at any given time, with most of the cases taking several years to resolve.

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